The Lucky One film review: Ultimate chick flick is predictable mush with a lack of chemistry

Ultimate chick flick The Lucky One is predictable mush with a lack of chemistry



22:19 GMT, 3 May 2012


Verdict: Unlucky for men

The Lucky One will find a largely female audience, for flicks don’t come chickier than this.

Author Nicholas Sparks has been churning out schmaltzy boy-meets-girl romances for ages, and this is a middling example of his work.

It’s nowhere near as unbearable as the stalled Miley Cyrus vehicle The Last Song (2010) but not as commercial as The Notebook (2004), which had two classy leading actors in Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

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No spark: Taylor Schilling as Beth and Zac Efron as Logan in The Lucky One

No spark: Taylor Schilling as Beth and Zac Efron as Logan in The Lucky One

Here, I never really bought the notion of Zac Efron as a traumatised marine veteran trying to overcome his demons after three tours of duty. He isn’t a man who’s been through hell; he’s a nice-looking boy who’s been through a makeover.

I’ve admired his work in the past, but when he attempts to show inner conflict here he looks like a male model who’s a martyr to haemorrhoids.

Anyway, after surviving a bloodbath in Iraq, he finds a photo of a beautiful blonde and becomes mystically convinced she has saved his life.

So he tracks her down and finds that she’s Beth (Taylor Schilling), a young woman whose brother was killed in action, who is running a kennels with her wise mother (Gwyneth Paltrow’s mum, Blythe Danner, at her most twinkly) and one of those cute blond sons you find a lot in movies.

The man-shaped fly in the ointment is Beth’s jealous ex-husband, who’s also the town lawman when he isn’t staring at Mr Efron and glowering.

The storyline is simple to the point of banality, and everything is drowned in Mark Isham’s syrupy, string-laden score. Scott Hicks, a long time after his up-market triumph with Shine, doesn’t so much direct this as embalm it.

He washes everything in sunsets and the kind of amber glow normally associated with Hovis commercials.

I found it ultra-predictable mush, made all the more turgid by the two leads’ lack of chemistry. Seeing them attempt to simulate love is like waiting for a cement souffle to rise.

It may be enough for some that Efron and Schilling are handsome, with excellent teeth — and although it takes a while for Zac to take his shirt off, it does eventually happen.

Yet there’s lots that doesn’t happen — notably drama, realism, character development, surprises. But if you long to see Mr Efron fondle puppies, this is your dream movie.

Now watch the trailer