When the film’s marketing is purely based on the fact that Zac Efron put on some weight to make himself look more like a soldier, you know you are up for a bad ride. So when the creators decide to give it a promising title and call it the Lucky One, it almost feels like they are ironically laughing in your face daring you to spend your money on this product. No matter how tempting the vision of Zac Efron walking a dog sounds like to you, do not go to see it. Just put the trailer on loop and you get the Lucky One.
You can tell that these blue eyes and long eyelashes don’t make his life in the army easy…
There is a specific scheme that films such as the Lucky One usually follow and that scheme is what makes them both successful and appealing to its audience. Nicholas Sparks has been considered the god of these schemes and with 100% tear provoking rate, his books have never failed to satisfy his fans. I am not a fan of romantic dramas, neither am I am fan of Sparks’ stories, however, I am familiar with the movies based on them and the way they work.
I have nothing against the formula. Actually, my very favourite genre (horror) is based purely on cliches and schemes the audience learns to follow. I have nothing against the naivety either. Yes, personally, I do not watch romantic comedies because the world the characters live in is too naive and silly, but it’s not that I cannot forget about my morals and try to engage with what is happening on the screen accepting all the ridicule it is throwing at me. But there is one thing I will not tolerate in any movie no matter where it comes from. And that is laziness.
The Lucky One is a film about people trying to find problems because otherwise their lives would be too sweet to even look at. Zac Efron plays an ex marine, who comes back from ‘a war in some hot country- the movie doesn’t specify if it is Iraq, Iran, Afganistan or Vietnam; it is one of these war USA is fighting but nobody can really locate on the map anymore’. He manages to survive because one day he finds a picture of a young, beautiful girl, who Zac believes, saved him from every single tragedy he later experiences. From what we see during first ten minutes of the movie, wherever Zac, or shall we call him Logan appears, the bomb explodes, so maybe it is not the picture which brings luck, but rather Logan who brings death. I would avoid him if I was in the war with him, but let’s us go with the storyline for now…
wait…Logan? THAT LOGAN?!
After he comes back home from war, Logan discovers that video games make him tremble and the picture he found doesn’t leave his mind and heart, so he decides to steal the family dog and walk to nowhere in search of his ‘guardian angel’. And then he walks and walks and walks and walks from a lighthouse (because there is a lighthouse in the picture) to another lighthouse asking around random people about the girl who saved his life. Nobody questions this worrying behaviour and just before his beard reaches the point where it balances between trampy and sexy, Zac Efron finds the kennel, where his destiny awaits him.
Beth (Taylor Shilling), the girl from the picture, isn’t that enthusiastic about ten years younger ex Marine. He confesses that he walked few states in order to work in the kennel, which obviously freaks her out a little, however, her grandmother employs Logan against Beth’s worries. However, Logan’s stalking routine that he performs every second of his life by walking around Beth’s house with a big, scary dog does bring them closer and soon Beth becomes emotionally engaged with the soldier. But of course, like in all Nicholas Sparks books and movies based on them,
In the Lucky One the evil is materialised in the form of Keith, Beth’s ex who she shares a son with. Keith is obviously an asshole who will do everything he can (and damn, he can do a lot- he is a cop and his father is the only judge in town) to destroy the developing relationship. This ongoing conflict between Logan and Keith leads to few disturbing scenes, in which- like I guess in every movie he starred in- Zac Efron’s heterosexuality is questioned. I’m sorry, my dear filmmakers, but
even if you change his hairstyle. It just isn’t believable especially when he is approached by a tough guy and especially when the tough guy keeps giving him dirty looks.
But let’s not get too carried away. Officially, Keith is the bad guy and wants to be with Beth, not with Logan, so he does all he can to destroy this relationship. And the only thing he comes up with is using the picture the soldier found against him. And I have to say, he has a point…
Before Logan finds balls to tell Beth what the real reason behind his arrival to the kennel is, Keith approaches her with the stolen photograph and expresses his worries in regards to Logan’s stalking behaviour. This is so called Nicholas Sparks dramatic moment which of course leads to Beth’s breaking up with Logan and then Logan’s revelation of truth and the cheesy reunion. Beth goes to Keith and tells him to sue her whenever he likes because she is too great of a mother to worry about her son being taken away, Ben (her son) continues to annoy everyone with his bad violin skills and Logan discovers his mission all along was to become a victoria secret’s model and pose in every still of the movie as if it was a potential promotional poster.
The Lucky One is a naive, silly and lazy movie about Zac Efron walking a big dog and having sex every so often. It is pointless, plotless and simply boring, and I wouldn’t recommend it even for the fans of this very specific genre. Most importantly, it is an extremely dry film and will leave you emotionless and a little frustrated. But like all things worthless in life, the Lucky One is easily forgettable, so even if you accidentally see it, there is no need to panic- luckily, it is only 101 minutes long.