In a way, the mixing of the bland, dancing and singing High School Musical star Zac Efron with the exceedingly banal and repetitive Nicholas Sparks is a generically uninspired match made in heaven. Efron's plucked eyebrows and unremarkable personality are nearly ideal for the sorts of twee, "misunderstood outsider with a heart of gold" male archetypes present in the Sparks formula for chick-lit tearjerkers.
It's just unfortunate and, quite frankly, amusing that he was cast in this particular Sparks adaptation as a soldier, mainly because he seems like the type ― even while strutting around with his shoulders back, doing a strained tough guy impression ― that would ask the question, "Do I look sexy when I hold the gun like this?"
Since The Lucky One has absolutely nothing going for it other than director Scott Hicks's preoccupation for amber hues and wish fulfilment indulgence, at least the amusement of watching an effeminate pretty boy imitate the rituals of manhood leaves some sort of impression. It's far more interesting than the actual story, wherein Logan (Efron) finds a photo of a hot chick (Taylor Schilling) during the Iraq war that saves his life twice, leading him to go on a quest (that proves unreasonably easy) to find her back in the U.S.
They meet; they flirt; they demonstrate zero chemistry (these two are definitely not Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams); they deal with her dickhead ex-husband (Jay R. Ferguson); Blythe Danner doles out some sassy bon mots; and we just wait for chickie-poo to find out about the whole picture thing.
The Lucky One offers absolutely no surprises, resting on the thematic laurels of Sparks's lexicon ― fate, chance encounters, unresolved emotional scars, yadda, yadda, yadda ― while catering to those keen on distracting their reality with the sort of schmaltzy romantic hokum that never happens in real life.
The biggest problem with this throwaway cookie-cutter romance isn't that it's a bad movie; it's that it's astoundingly forgettable and has nothing to say. (Warner)