After weeks of wonderful outings to the box office, it was only a matter of time before a weekend arrived without any appealing films to be seen. Of course, that’s just one opinion, albeit one shared by many.
Of the two films opening this weekend, “Chimpanzee,” the documentary about a chimp separated from his family, will easily elicit the more heartfelt, emotional response from moviegoers. But when your competition is a lifeless, soulless “The Notebook” wannabe (irony?), accomplishing such a feat is not hard.
“The Lucky One” stars an all-grown-up Zac Efron as a Marine who manages to survive three tours in Iraq, thanks in no small part to a photo of a mysterious woman who Efron thinks is — you guessed it — his good luck charm.
It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what aspect of this film doesn’t work. Maybe it’s the early -90s/late-‘80s tropes of creating unwarranted tension by simply not doing the right things. Everyone watching knows where the tension lies, knows what’s coming eventually. Yet, like the season six reveal in “Dexter,” it’s just too drawn out. You’ll realize you’ve checked out before the opening credits have finished rolling out.
First of all, as a veteran myself, convincing me that Efron is a veteran of three tours in Iraq requires more than briefly showing him in a uniform or sparse, overdramatic flashbacks. I was actually a fan of Efron after a few of his smaller efforts, but much in the way “Twilight” has shown just how wooden an actress Kristen Stewart is, “The Lucky One,” has shown why Efron will never be anything more than that kid from “High School Musical.”
But I’m not just being rough on Efron. There’s no life from anyone in this movie. The entire film follows Efron finding a photo of a girl and then eventually meeting her in real life. But when he finally meets that girl, played by Taylor Schilling, all you want to know is why in the hell does he want to actually be with her.
When you’re relying on drawn-out pans of solemn faces staring at solemn sunsets, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to tell an actual love story.
The last film I enjoyed so little was “Abduction,” which I walked out of midway through. But I stayed for this whole cinematic abomination, and I still think that if I had only been given the opportunity to walk out of one, it would still be “Abduction.”
“The Lucky One” is a bad movie, but it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the worst romance I’ve ever seen, but that’s not exactly something to brag about. Paper-thin plot and characters do nothing to elevate this above the status of meh.