‘The Lucky One’ lacks love story luster

Pitchforks: 2.5/5

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling

Release date: April 20

“The Lucky One” opens with an intense battle scene at dark. The day after the night raid, Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) roams through a nearly desolate, sandy Iraq desert. He kneels down to retrieve a picture of a woman on the ground. Right as Logan picks up the photograph, a bomb goes off, throwing him and a few other fellow soldiers backward.

Once Logan regains consciousness, he is convinced that if he had not picked up the picture, he would have been killed in the bomb blast. The thought lingers in his mind when he returns home to Colorado.

The timid and paranoid Logan, who seems to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, becomes determined to find the woman in the picture to thank her.

After an embarrassingly desperate and frantic game of asking neighbors if they know who the woman is, Logan takes a long trek across the country. His journey takes him to a rickety dog kennel called Green Kennels.

Once he finds her, the soldier melts down to a stuttering and nervous man. Efron’s awkward movements and words easily elicit laughs. The fresh-faced blonde named Beth Clayton (Taylor Schilling) can’t help but smirk at the weak-kneed U.S. Marine.

Beth’s hilariously stubborn grandmother, played by Blythe Danner, decides to hire him despite Beth’s protests.  Agitated by the fact that the grandmother and her son, Ben,  are instantly won over by a complete stranger, Beth firmly refuses to accept Logan into her life.

The romantic elements of the movie are simultaneously unrealistic, yet typical for the genre. Logan takes his best shot to act as Beth’s dashing hero. He confronts the angry ex-husband several times in order to protect the son, the only scenes that make Efron likable.

Jay R. Ferguson aggressively plays Keith Clayton, Beth’s ex-husband. His gruff mannerisms and hostile personality truly make him easy to hate, and Ferguson proves himself to be an ideal antagonist.

Surprisingly enough, the true talent in the film does not come from the popular actor, Efron. Schilling succeeds in conveying an image of a woman who appears to be mentally strong but occasionally breaks down from the stressful situations.

Ben, played by a wonderful Riley Thomas Stewart, reveals maturity beyond his years, yet still partakes in age-appropriate antics. Blythe Danner’s character smoothly works with the young actor to provide hearty laughs on multiple occasions.

As a typical Nicholas Sparks story, “The Lucky One” is laden with hardships and drama, and though it is not a terrific movie, it is not necessarily awful. A few of the actors and actresses do a standout job, but the limited amount of skilled acting cannot save the rest of the movie.

Reach the reporter at lrogoff@asu.edu

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