April 20, 2012 by Anne Most
What’s better than a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel? A movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel starring Zac Efron. Young women across the country will swoon and leave the theater with impossible romantic expectations once they see Warner Bros.’ “The Lucky One,” released in U.S. theaters April 20. The film is based on a novel of the same title by renowned romantic novelist Nicholas Sparks. “The Lucky One” stars Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner and is directed by Scott Hicks.
The story revolves around Logan Thibault (Efron), a U.S. Marine sergeant who returns to the U.S. after three tours in Iraq. During his third tour, Logan finds a photograph of a beautiful woman who he claims to be his lucky charm. Once home, Logan finds it difficult to slink back into a normal lifestyle, so he begins a long trek to find his lucky charm. He finally finds Beth (Schilling), a kennel owner in a small town in Louisiana, who is living with her grandmother Ellie (Danner) and her young son Ben, played by Riley Thomas Stewart. Before he knows it, Logan finds himself signing employment papers at the kennel and falling in love with the cautious Beth. The two get caught up in an unexpected romance, a sadistic ex-husband and pain from the past.
Let me start with Efron, the man of the hour. Efron’s career started with a bang with the Disney Channel film “High School Musical.” After “High School Musical” aired in 2006, Efron starred in the following two sequels in the HSM franchise, the remake of “Hairspray,” “17 Again,” “Charlie St. Cloud” and several other films. In this movie, Efron shows the world that he is not a spawn of the Disney Channel. Efron has indeed grown up and has proven that he is capable of handling adult roles. The ladies certainly appreciate this transformation.
Surprisingly, Stewart, who plays Ben, stole the show. Stewart certainly had the wittiest lines in the movie, showing that his character is wise beyond his years. The audience will develop a strong attachment and sympathy for Ben, who is caught in the middle of a battle between his mother and father, Keith Clayton, played by Jay R. Ferguson. You can’t help but sigh at Ben’s growing attachment to Logan, chuckle at his chess skills (that he is not so modest about) and fight your urge to ruffle his curly blonde hair.
Sparks has once again crafted a beautiful romance that measures up to “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember” and “The Last Song.” While “The Lucky One” — both the film and the novel — didn’t make me cry like an idiot the way the aforementioned films and novels did, I certainly was touched and am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears.
Hicks did make some minor changes from the book, but that is understandable. The modifications helped bulk up the plot and clue viewers in to parts of the story that would be difficult to convert from the page to the screen. Seeing as Logan is the main character, the novel revolved around his thoughts, so the logical way to get his thoughts into the movie would be to add scenes. Additionally, some parts of the novel were omitted because they were simply unnecessary.
These changes were unlike the changes made in the film adaptation of Sparks’ novel “Dear John,” which were more obnoxious than helpful.
Almost all of Sparks’ novels take place in North Carolina, including “The Lucky One.” However, the film takes place in Louisiana. One of my favorite aspects of “The Lucky One” was the breathtaking scenery that only added to the beauty of the film. It will make you want to hitchhike all the way to Louisiana, sit on a porch swing and sip on some sweet tea.
All in all, “The Lucky One” has made it onto my list of favorite romance movies, and I highly recommend it. And yes, you must drag your boyfriends to this movie and demand that they take notes so they can measure up to another one of Sparks’ creations.