The Lucky One tells the story of a soldier (played by Zac Efron) suffering from survivor’s guilt. Logan’s entire platoon was killed in a mortar attack but he was spared by pure chance—he had walked away to pick up a photograph lying on the ground a few feet away. That photograph—of an unknown woman—became his lucky charm, keeping him safe during the rest of his tour and he makes it his mission to find the woman when he gets home and thank her.
The Lucky One is a very mixed bag. The story (an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel) is completely predictable and yet hits all the melodramatic notes that fans of this style of movie are expecting. Some characters are nuanced and interesting, including young Riley Thomas Stewart who is a brilliant, talented kid who latches on to Logan when he starts hanging around with his mother. But the boy’s father (Jay Ferguson from Mad Men) is a stereotypical bully, an alpha male who puffs out his chest and tries to frighten off his ex-wife’s newfound lover.
I did enjoy, however, the character portrayed by Zac Efron. An emotionally-distant but still caring individual, Logan has a solid character arc and is accented by a nice, subtle performance from Efron. A fellow critic said he had trouble accepting Efron as a Marine because of preconceptions arising from the actor’s High School Musical background, but I was unfettered and found it convincing. Frankly, I think Efron will make your heart melt with his tender, wounded warrior.
The plotting, while predictable, moves along at a brisk pace and never lets the audience become mired in the melodrama. But for every line where a character waxes in pop philosophy they also spew an empty platitude that can only work in this type of movie. There were several cornball lines that Efron’s Logan said that made me hold my mouth to keep from laughing—and they are said with such earnestness that I had to ask, “Who is buying this?”
And then I realized: The Nicholas Sparks audience. People who loved The Notebook are going to eat this up. Cheesy, yes, but The Lucky One isn’t a bad movie. Playing into its stereotypes, it breaks no new ground and its illogical plot-twists are acceptable because they are the expectations of the genre.
Recommended If You Like: