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Lucky One, The


Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Jay R Ferguson, Riley Thomas Stewart

Director: Scott Hicks

Picturesquely set in the Louisiana everglades, this is a watchable romantic drama with some fairly hot love scenes, centring on Logan (Efron), an ex-Marine who has lived a charmed life through three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, something he puts down to the picture of a girl he finds at the site of a bomb blast.

Improbably tracking her down on his return to the US, he takes a job at her dog training centre without (even more improbably) managing to tell her the reason. Well, there's a cute son (Stewart), a wise old grandmother (Danner) and a nasty ex-husband (Ferguson), who complicates things by being one of the local cops.

It's surprising that the ex isn't more sympathetic to Logan, at least to begin with: there seems no reason why he should be so hostile to an ex-Marine looking for a job, except that the plot requires it. It's also hard to see how he thinks his ex-wife's new relationship could be 'unhealthy' enough to warrant her losing custody of the child.

Still, we must make allowances in the cause of the story, and the performances, Danner's and Ferguson's in particular, are decent enough, although Efron does tend to stand around looking soulful. Danner's down-to-earth dialogue contrasts strangely, in fact, with Efron's flowery narrative: 'Sometimes, finding the light,' he philosophises, 'means you pass through the darkness.' Not a lot of darkness here, though, just beautifully-shot but otherwise conventional entertainment.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Apr 2012