The Lucky One
Directed by: Scott Hicks
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner
Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
Release Date: April 20, 2012
PLOT: Based on a Nicholas Sparks’ novel, a soldier (Efron) travels to Louisiana, looking for an unknown woman (Schilling) who became his good luck charm during the war.
WHO’S IT FOR? Do you want a chance to drool over Efron? That’s it.
EXPECTATIONS: It’s Sparks plus Efron. Look, Charlie St. Cloud wasn’t awful. Dear John could’ve been worse. Let’s just say I was open-minded with a little bit of worry mixed in.
Zac Efron as Logan: When you think of Efron, you don’t immediately think of a soldier. His kind of handsome is more pretty than rugged. Don’t worry. The geniuses behind The Lucky One know how to solve that problem. He’s got scruff. He also stands up straight and says “ma’am” and “sir” whenever possible. Once Logan returns from his three tours of the Iraq War, he’s clearly suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So, what happens when he walks the Earth? Nothing. No real problems. He has a tough time telling Beth why he’s in her life, but no problems talking about anything and everything else in the most elegant ways. It doesn’t make sense.
Taylor Schilling as Beth: Schilling is wearing a “f**k me face” for Efron the entire film. Notice I didn’t say Beth is that way toward Logan? It’s because it never really turns off. No matter if it’s the beginning of the film when she doesn’t like him, or the end after she’s fallen for him, it’s that same face. The core audience might appreciate that, but otherwise it’s quite bizarre. Also, they poorly explain why Beth is having trouble getting back into the classroom, and remaining at her dog kennel.
Blythe Danner as Ellie: Yes, she’s totally fine as the cooky grandmother. Why wouldn’t she be? Is she capable of more? Yes, and that’s the problem. This character panders (but not as much as the next one). The perfect example of this is when Beth is doing the dishes while fantasizing about Logan. Ellie sees this, and watching her granddaughter overly-enjoy herself, then teases her for it.
Jay R. Ferguson as Keith Clayton: He’s insanely villainous and incredibly unrealistic. Luckily, Keith’s dad (Adam LeFevre as Judge Clayton) runs the town, which means Keith carries a badge and gun, doing whatever he wants. It’s annoying how “mean” this guy is. The amount of hatred Keith shows Logan when they first meet is so stupidly undeserved that I can’t tolerate his existence in this film from that moment on.
TALKING: There isn’t that much. In the beginning of the film we get teased with this being a movie about fate. That doesn’t come up until the end of the movie. So what’s in the middle? Logan occasionally says the perfect thing like, “You should be kissed every day.”
SIGHTS: It looks really good. Seriously. The landscape in Louisiana, the farm house, and the dog montages all work. Yes ladies, there are also plenty of moments to admire Efron. His shirt remains on for most of the film, but Logan and Beth do “get together” in PG-13 romance twice.
SOUNDS: It’s a little dated. No song feels fresh for these young lovers. “Wasted Generation” by Mayfield is completely the outlier here, and part of the war scenes. Brandi Carlile ends the film with “The Story.”
BEST SCENE: Comically bad is good when it’s this idiotic. Keith pulls a gun on Logan’s dog in front of hundreds.
ENDING: Perfect? I guess, but I still feel like everyone needs a little therapy, especially when it comes to Beth’s feelings for Logan and how they are connected to her brother.
QUESTIONS: When will Logan actually speak to his sister again? Is he done with his nephews?
REWATCHABILITY: I am already fearing the day I’m on a plane and sitting next to a woman who is completely sucked in to this suck-a-tude.
The Lucky One starts and you think you understand. It’s a story about a soldier trying to come to terms with how awful war is, and perhaps believe in fate. He walks America to thank a woman who doesn’t even know he exists. Please keep in mind, he’s walked halfway across the United States to say, “thank you.” So, what happens when he arrives? He clams up. This stupid movie device screams of manipulation and smacks you in the face. Logan says, “I have something to tell you.” Nothing stops him from telling Beth. Nothing. Sure, he feels a little awkward. That takes moments to get over. Especially when his secret isn’t bad. There is never a reason for Logan to lie, except that then the film would have to advance the conversation of fate, and getting over pain (and possibly replacing a brother with a lover). Instead, we’re left with a slow-moving romance with dog montages and a cute little kid. The film attempts to create drama, but never gets to anything interesting. Even when Logan and Beth finally do talk, it’s so poorly worded, you wonder if they even understand what this film could have been about. In the end, The Lucky One is a chance for Efron to make a very good pay check, probably more than he could in an other film genre. That’s it. And yes, that does make Efron The Lucky One, but not us for sitting through this film.
FINAL SCORE: 2/10