‘The Lucky One’ lacks substance, still entertains

The Lucky One lacks substance, still entertains

Abbie Powers

Image used under fair use doctrine.
The Lucky One is satisfying. While its transitions were slightly awkward, its acting less than groundbreaking and its story borderline cliché, it was good because it was exactly what it should have been.
A large portion of women in Midwestern, American society consume Nicholas Spark’s romantic genius like crack. And he definitely deserves some credit; how does one man (emphasis on man) have so many beautiful stories of true love floating around inside?
His latest book-turned-movie, directed by Scott Hicks (No Reservations, The Boys Are Back), is no exception to the previous blockbusters fueled by a mind too well tuned into the female psyche; The Lucky One struck cords in all the right places. It tugged at tear ducts, poured butterflies into stomachs and practically sucked away all trace of mundane reality and replaced it with a hope dangerous in the hands of romantics.
When Marine Logan Thaibault (Zac Efron, High School Musical, 17 Again) stumbles upon a picture of a beautiful blonde while overseas, his life is miraculously spared despite many dangerous situations. Dubbing the “angel” in the photograph as his good luck charm, he promises to thank the stranger once he’s home for the good fortune graced on him by her presence.
But as Logan arrives in the small, North Carolinian town of Hampton and sees the girl in the photograph, Beth (Taylor Schilling, Argo, Mercy), for the first time, he is at a loss for words. Beth mistakenly thinks Logan is in want of a job at the kennel she runs with her grandmother, and because he’s a wandering soul searching for answers and explanations, Logan accepts the less than ideal job offer.
The rest of the movie depicts the struggle Beth has in accepting the death of her brother, a former Marine, Logan’s attempt to meld his way into the lives of Beth and her adorable son, and the inevitable romance between the unknowing good luck charm and her confused victim.
While the movie’s scenes are shot with clarity and a generally interesting perspective, they are not supported by smooth transitions and feel both rushed and sloppy. This general lack of quality makes the whole film appear slightly off-balance and fake.
The actors do their job well enough, and Efron does a decent job at going from top basketball player/star of a musical to a gruff, philosophical marine, believe it or not; but something was missing. It may have been that Efron seems too young, no matter how hard he tries to grow aged-looking stubble, to realistically be as deep as his character should have been. It may have been that Beth looks ten years older than 25-year-old Logan. But I think what was the most unsettling was Schilling’s shaky performance and overall annoyingness.
Although she has her moments, like the vindictive, empowering speech she throws in the face of her ex-husband or the way she cares for her son, Schilling’s overall demeanor is too hard to follow. The story does not convey her emotions strongly enough through the camera and leaves a lot of room for a lack of attachment toward her character.
While the film holds some fundamental problems in overall substance and technical weakness in production, it was happy. Even the terribly cliché end-of-the-movie-kiss with a golden sun illuminating the lovers’ silhouettes from the background was semi-enjoyable, because while vapid, it is still beautiful.
So while the newest addition to Sparks’ book-turned-movies moderately fails in comparison to a solid classic like The Notebook, the sweet, southern lifestyle, warm romance between two gorgeous people and an attempt to scratch the fundamental idea of fate still come together to turn a less-than-stellar film into something enjoyable.
By Abbie Powers