The Lucky One

Despite The Lucky One's dismal rating on Rotten Tomatoes currently, I ended up enjoying it a lot. It's a bit cheesy/sappy in some parts, yes, but both of the leads (Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling) do a great job acting in it - despite that fact that Schilling looks about 10 years older than Zac - and the story is an interesting one. You could also argue that I, as a 20-something female, am within the "core audience" for the movie - it is, after all, based on a Nicholas Sparks book - but the movie managed to hold my attention throughout, and the chemistry between the leads was believable as well.

Logan Thibault (Zac Efron, New Year's Eve) is serving a tour with the Marines, and has just experienced a night raid with his platoon. The next morning, he's standing guard outside when he seems something glinting in the sun. He goes over to retrieve it, and it's a picture of a woman, with the words "Keep Safe" on the back of it. As he's examining the photo, a bomb goes off right where he had been standing; the photo essentially saves him from dying in the blast.

When Logan is done with the Marines, after three tours, he decides to find the woman in the photo, and he walks from Colorado to Louisiana, where he eventually finds Beth (Taylor Schilling, TV's Mercy), who works and lives at a boarding home for pets with her grandmother (Blythe Danner, Little Fockers) and her 7-year-old son, Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart, The Beaver). Logan tries to tell her why he has come to Louisiana, but she assumes it's for the job they posted in the paper. Beth finds Logan to be a little strange (he's a bit of the "strong and silent" type), but her grandmother has sympathy for him, since Beth's late brother was in the Marines as well, and she hires Logan. Logan and Beth soon fall for each other, but complications ensue when Beth finds out that Logan has the photo.

The two leads, Efron and Schilling, have good chemistry together, even though Schilling looked a lot older than Efron; in real life, Zac is 24 and she is 27, and in the movie he is playing a 25-year-old and she is playing a woman of 26. Another reviewer friend of mine theorized that she was supposed to look a lot older, since she had a child when she was 18 and is now divorced, but I don't really buy that theory. Schilling's ex, too (Jay R. Ferguson, TV's Mad Men), looked about 30, but in real life is 37. The acting in the movie overall was very good, though, which is why it was easy to overlook some of the sappier scenes. Just like in Nicholas Sparks' other movie adaptation, The Notebook, this film has a few defining love scenes as well, including a steamy scene (no pun intended) in the shower, and as another friend of mine commented, Zac Efron is definitely "easy on the eyes."

Yes, see this film. I will concede that women are more likely to enjoy the film over men, but I thought the story was very interesting, and that the cast as a whole turned in a great performance. A few things were changed from the book version, which I read in 2008 when it was released, but I believe that the main plot points remain the same, though the movie takes place in Louisiana rather than North Carolina. Fans of Sparks or Efron will enjoy this movie, and I hope that others take a chance and see it as well.

The Lucky One is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 101 minutes, and is currently playing in theaters. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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