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TBTS Reviews: The Lucky One

May 18, 2012

As the only female contributor to The Brown Tweed Society, I feel it is my duty to report on all the icky girly things my fellow Tweedsters would like to ignore, like fashion and celebrity pregnancies and Nicholas Sparks books-turned-movies. My love of rom-coms and chick lit is no secret, so I don’t mind this duty, but at times it’s a heavy burden I bear. I am contractually obligated to watch every movie Zac Efron or Channing Tatum make, unless Jonah Hill is involved, which is where I draw the line. While I’m actually looking forward to the new Channing Tatum movie, I was less-than-enthused about seeing The Lucky One. And, it turns out, I had good reason.

The Lucky One is the latest from the Nicholas Sparks tearjerker factory. It tells the story of Logan (Zac Efron), who’s stationed in Iraq and is saved from death-by-explosion when he stops to pick up a discarded photo lying in the street. The photo is of Beth (Taylor Schilling), and he vows to find his human good luck charm. Once Logan returns home, he finds “normal life” at his sister’s home to be a little overwhelming, so he sets out on his quest to track down Beth. He walks (walks!) from Colorado to Louisiana, where he finds Beth and her grandmother (Blythe Danner) running a dog kennel. He tries to explain himself to Beth but she mistakes him for a job-seeker, and through grandma’s intervention, he begins working for her. The relationship is rocky at first; he keeps to himself, she doesn’t like him. But of course they end up together. I won’t spoil the how.

The Lucky One is not one of the better films of this genre. I’d rank it below Dear John, and it can’t even compare to The Notebook. It did have its moments, but overall, I think the bad outweighs the good.

The pros:
1. The soundtrack – This movie has a surprisingly great soundtrack. Featuring artists such as Brandi Carlisle, A Fine Frenzy, and Mayfield, it’s full of romantic, slightly twangy ballads without being too cutesy or sweet. I can see myself spinning this on a summer road trip.

2. Shirtless Zac Efron – You get to see about five minutes of this.
Shirtless Zac Efron

The cons:
1. Taylor Schilling – Whoever was in charge of casting should be driven out of Hollywood. Efron and Danner were solid choices, and even the Podunk cop ex-husband was pretty solidly cast. But Taylor Schilling is no Rachel McAdams. Or even an Amanda Seyfried. I appreciate that they probably wanted a fresh face (and Schilling has done a whole lotta nothing), but what comes with being a fresh face is also apparently a lack of acting ability. She’s pretty enough for the role, though she looks older than the character’s age of 26, but the role is too big for her. She’s supporting-cast-good, not leading-lady-good. And pitted against Efron and Danner, she just looks weak. Bad move.

2. The walking – Logan’s “thing” in this movie is walking. He doesn’t own a car, so he walks everywhere. He walks to clear his head. He walks to pass the time. And in the beginning of the movie, HE WALKS FROM COLORADO TO LOUISIANA! That is a lot of walking, and what is it supposed to show? Are we meant to read some deep character traits into the walking? Is it supposed to tell us something important about Logan? If so, I missed it, because I was too busy laughing at him walking all over the place.

3. The montages – The montage is a common movie device and I don’t begrudge it when used sparingly and effectively. Sadly, neither is the case in this movie. There are five montages, FIVE! A montage of Logan doing all that walking, a montage of Logan working at the kennel, a montage of Logan and Beth starting to get along, a montage of Logan and Beth starting a relationship, and finally a montage of Logan bonding with Beth’s son. Do we really need all those montages? (Sidebar: after typing “montage” ten times in this paragraph, the word begins to look misspelled. Don’t you hate when that happens?)

4. Shirtless Zac Efron – You only get to see about five minutes of this.
Shirtless Zac Efron

My verdict: It’s worth seeing, but go with your lady friends. Your husband/boyfriend/whatever has done nothing to deserve having to sit through this.

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