Film: ‘The Lucky One’; Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner; Director: Scott Hicks; Rating: *1/2
Melodrama and sentimentality in cinema are necessary in small proportions. However, it requires delicate handling. Those who have not figured how to best use them without patronising the viewers should not even try. Sadly, it’s a hint that comes too late for the makers of ‘The Lucky One’.
After a photo that he finds on the streets of Baghdad coincidentally ends up saving his life, Logan (Zac Efron) decides to find the woman in the picture.
His search leads to a single mother (Taylor Schilling) and her small town existence. He works with her, and soon they fall in love. But the ex-husband of the woman is jealous.
Often movies based on books inspire viewers to read the original book. This film, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, will do just the opposite – make you stay as far away as possible from both the book and Sparks.
What else can you do? There are so many loopholes, sloppiness in direction, cliched dialogues and hackneyed scenes that there is no other way.
The only ones who will perhaps like the film are teenage girls who have little exposure to better cinema.
Consider these: our protagonist is not a mechanic in the Marines, yet he can inexplicably repair anything, from an old tractor to a boat engine. No explanation is given as to how this 25-year-old can do all these.
Indeed, there’s so little information about the background of our hero (besides that he went on three trips to the war) that he seems to have fallen straight from the sky, like the mythical, magical unicorn.
Yet, despite all problems, the ending could have made the film better.
But the ending in which someone crucial to the script dies is symptomatic of American culture which does not know how to live in peace with its enemy and thus has to destroy it.
An Indian film in a similar situation would have ended in a change of heart. But change of heart is something that a bullying nation cannot and will not afford a weaker nation.
The only saving grace is Zac Efron who not only ends up becoming a desirable hot man for the ladies but also manages a straight, serious look throughout the film and does justice to his role.
That’s not enough to save an entirely disappointing and illogical film.
So at the end of the day, who’s the lucky one? Not the audience.