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April 21, 2012 | 3:43 p.m. CST
Watch out, Ryan Gosling. There’s a new leading man in town, and his name is Zac Efron.
In Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel-turned-movie, Efron stars as Logan, a Marine stationed in the Middle East. After being discharged, he stays with his sister in Colorado, but he feels out of place. Efron walks across the country, determined to find the woman in a picture he found in Iraq. He ends up in Louisiana, where he meets Beth, the woman whom he calls his guardian angel.
Although Logan and Beth encounter their share of unrealistic speed bumps throughout the movie, from Beth's ex-husband, the sheriff, to the haunting memory of her brother, the story is still believable. The characters are relatable and charming. Efron and Taylor Schilling (Beth) have great chemistry, and they seem to effortlessly fall in love.
The best part of the film is Blythe Danner, who plays Beth’s grandmother. She’s treated like an old lady who’s had a stroke, but she doesn’t act that way. She’s spry and funny. And though she doesn’t have many lines, she adds an expertise to the movie that would otherwise be missing.
Sparks’ novels tend to take place in coastal North Carolina towns, so the Southern setting of The Lucky One was a stray from the norm. But the small town feel and plantation-style houses create a romantic atmosphere that makes it possible for Logan and Beth to fall in love.
For a romantic film, The Lucky One wasn’t sappy. The audience was about 95 percent female, but it wasn’t just a love story. It had aspects that any moviegoer would enjoy — romance, action and suspense.
The film’s only downfall was Efron’s acting. It was better than his High School Musical days, but his delivery still needs some work. Any time the camera was on him for a one-liner, Efron seemed to fall short of the impact the line needed. This didn’t stop the audience from loving every minute he was on screen.
The Lucky One is a typical Sparks movie, with death, romance and obstacles that seem too huge to overcome. For those that read the novel, the film adaptation won’t disappoint.