The Lucky One filled me with hope and sadness as I left the cinema into the mild May night. Sad that I had paid to see this film, and hopeful, that the next film I watch will be a tad less clichéd. On a serious note, however, it possibly isn’t the worst film you’ll see all year, despite the presence of Zac Efron.
Despite a highly negative rating of 22% on film rating website Rotten Tomatoes, there are at least two reasons to see this film. The first of these is the incomprehensibly steamy shower scene, where male lead Efron, playing Logan Thibault, finally “reconnoitres” the, ahem, “territory” of the beautiful Beth Clayton (Taylor Schilling), as only a solider can.
The plot is almost conceivable, but reading it out to yourself afterwards is probably unwise, as you’ll find more holes in it than a slab of Emmental. Thibault is a US Marine, on patrol in Iraq, who after a doomed night raid discovers a polaroid photograph of a stunning female wishing safety to the person possessing it. Thibault proceeds to survive an explosion, and an attack on his armed convoy, and makes it his mission to find the woman whom has kept him safe.
He locates her, walking across states in the process, and somehow lands a job at the dog kennels she tends to. He proceeds to gain her trust, and affection, after initial hostility, and causes a schism between Clayton and her oafish estranged husband, Keith Clayton (J. R. Ferguson), and Beth’s bright, lively son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart).
Logan’s presence is a constant sore for Keith, as he fixes Beth’s boat, and consoles her over the death of her brother, the soldier whom the photograph was supposed to keep safe. In a cruel twist, as part of his vendetta, police chief Keith “reluctantly” spills the beans regarding Logan’s true intentions to Beth, while attempting to rebuild his family, following a drunken attempt on Logan’s life.
Wisely, Beth refuses, but the abusive Keith persists, leading young Ben to run away. He ends up in a fast-running river, and in an attempt to save the boy’s life, Logan and Keith are forced to work together. Poetic justice comes next, as per the scriptwriter’s manual, as Keith is killed and the humble Logan survives. They all proceed to live happily ever after blah, blah etc.
And now for the second reason. Keith perishes, not through the tree trunk he holds onto in vain snapping or something equally predictable, but a falling tree-house. Yes, you heard right, a tree-house. Brilliantly, and in what I can only assume is a vain attempt at a “twist,” Keith always stifled his son’s creativity, forcing him into foolhardy attempts to play baseball rather than nurturing his more natural talents, such as chess and the violin. The tree-house was Ben’s escape from this, his “haven.” And it was this that killed his unappreciative father.
The Lucky One is ludicrous on so many levels. The clichés are out of control, and to be honest, had it been made ironically as a social commentary on the stereotypically predictable nature of “rom-coms” it would be the greatest film ever made. Sadly, it wasn’t, and the presence of Zac Efron does it no favours either. His acting is wooden, not that this is the most challenging of roles, and his highly presentable nature and “typically attractive” nature make him lose a lot of the edginess that this character presumably was designed to have in the first place.
Still, there are entertaining moments, and I didn’t fall asleep, always a good sign. If you can stand the clichés, and the rather predictable ending (minus the tree-house), it may be worth buying a ticket: just, for dignity’s sake, do not even try and keep a straight face as Beth exclaims “please don’t go” to Logan as he is walking away. It isn’t even worth bothering. So, is The Lucky One worth seeing? To be honest: only if you find a fiver in the street on the way to see a better film.
The Lucky One official trailer: