It is a unique thing for every novelist to take a realistic episode and unite it into his stories, to use novels as a formula of pain therapy, but Nicholas Sparks — whose sister died at the age of 33 — has twisted that poor woman’s passing into a goddamn industry. I’ve seen ample of Sparks’ movies now, unfortunately, that the tone shifting and where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from death in the mid of a romantic scenario doesn’t faze me anymore. In fact, it’s kind of a fun game: Trying to understand who will bite it in the end. Will it be a death that, though sad, reliefs to close the deal on the romantic storyline? Or will it be one of those gut-punch deaths where one of the romantic leads will die unexpectedly and tragically?
So, The Lucky One. Like all earlier Sparks’ adaptations, The Lucky One is a trite love story that floats pointlessly until Nicholas’ Reaper lowers his sickle. Zac Effron is Logan (because of course he is), a Marine who discovers a picture of a woman, Beth (Taylor Schilling), in a war zone. After Logan endures three tours in Iraq, he attributes it to this picture of “an angel in hell.” So, he sets about trying to find her, walking from Colorado to Louisiana, so he can thank her for saving his life. Problem is, when he finds her — at a dog kennel — he can’t bring himself to find the words, so instead he takes a job as a handyman/dog walker. Over water-splashing canoe trips in the pond, kitchen dances, and piano recitals in church, Beth and Logan fall in love. The rub? Beth has an gorgeous son, whose father — Beth’s ex — is an obnoxious asshole and a local cop with a lot of influences in the small Southern town. He wants to keep Beth and Logan apart, and the kid gets trapped in the middle.
The question that thus ascends about twenty minutes into the movie is this: Who will die? Will it be Beth, at the hands of her ex? Will it be Logan, trying to save Beth from her ex? Will it be the kid, who gets caught in a fight between Logan, Beth and her ex? Will it be a murder suicide? Or will it be the ex, whose death will distress only the son? I’m not going to ruin it for you, because should you be required against your will to watch The Lucky One someday, I don’t want to spoil the only pleasure that can be gained from watching: The game of who will die?
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