His books sell millions of copies, and Hollywood's adaptations of them sell millions of tickets more: The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Dear John, The Last Song, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe. Love means never having to say anything of value.
Now there's The Lucky One, a big-boy vehicle for High School Musical graduate Zac Efron, who plays Logan, a 25-year-old Marine who is saved from being blown into smithereens when he gets up to fetch something shiny. It's a photograph of a cute blonde woman standing in front of a lighthouse; on the back is written "Keep safe."
Believing this mystery woman to be his guardian angel, and that he has a debt to pay her, Logan goes searching for her when his third tour of duty is up. He finds her awfully quick, at the dog boardinghouse she runs. When we first her, Beth (Taylor Schilling, Atlas Shrugged: Part I), director Scott Hicks (several shades from his Shine) has photographed her like she's a sun-kissed angel from heaven, but the woman is so deathly twig-skinny, she's practically transparent.
Beth stares at Logan dumbfounded, as if the actress forgot her lines, and yet you know that no matter what obstacles thrown their way, they’re going to fall in love. I have nothing against love stories in general — just the bad ones, and this one has a false heart, full of unintentionally funny moments:
• like when his nephews wake Logan up and he instinctively chokes one, cuz he’s a vet, yo;
• like when Beth asks Logan to quote his favorite philosopher at the breakfast table; or
• like when he kisses her while slowly whispering, "You should be kissed every day, every hour, every minute."
If there is anything the golden-hued film has more than awkward laughs, it’s scenes of Efron walking or running with dogs. And if there is anything the film has more that, it’s Schilling doing the same. Efron’s actually not a bad actor; the guy’s got presence and likability. Schilling, however, is a near lock for a Worst Actress Razzie. Oh, she should be so Lucky. —Rod Lott