"The Lucky One" is adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and so it cannot and will not be judged by its plot, character development or any other traditional measure of a film's worth. Like "The Notebook" and "Dear John," its sole purpose and only responsibility is to make you fall in unconditional love with its noble hero -- in this case, an ex-Marine (played by Zac Efron's sparkling eyes) who, when not mentoring children or taking care of dogs, is searching for a woman whose photo he found on the battlefield.
In order to do this, director Scott Hicks stocks the film with characters that are at best forgettable (the all-important constantly crying blonde, played by Taylor Schilling) and more frequently hilarious caricatures (crying blonde's abusive ex-husband and her sensitive son who can't catch a baseball). Of course, he still asks his audience to make some leaps of faith -- such as accepting Efron as a Marine -- but for this he can be forgiven in the name of love.
If nothing else though, we must hold "The Lucky One" accountable for its outdoor shower sex scene, for which the entire first hour of the film serves as bland, insufferable foreplay. Unfortunately, here's where it decides to take some cues from the real world: Complete with the most awkward, clumsy groping since prom, not even Efron's newly muscled shoulders can provide a moment of escapist peace as Schilling clearly eyes up a much more comfortable bed. You've faked sexier things in your own shower -- and that's a problem we can't overlook.
'The Lucky One'
Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner