It’s easy to dismiss the schmaltzy romantic drama The Lucky One. After all, it came from Nicholas Sparks’ badly chewed ballpoint pen and was directed by Scott Hicks (Shine) with a paint-by-numbers approach to filmmaking. Will Beth (Taylor Schilling), smarting from her Marine brother’s death and coping with her bullying ex-husband, fall in love with Logan (Zac Efron), a chivalrous Marine carrying a big secret?
Sparks fans will be thrilled to see their star-crossed lovers wet and kissing (though fully dressed) in a passionate shower scene, but for all the romantic talk of chance, fate and destiny, The Lucky One never quite reaches the deep emotions it tries to mine. Schilling, however, is radiant, and the film is at its best whenever she is onscreen. This is really her story. Unfortunately, it’s also a vehicle built for swoon-inducing Efron, who's pretty, but hardly credible as a Marine. If he really wanted to stretch as an actor here, he should have done it shirtless and reaching for the ceiling.