In the film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel "The Lucky One," Zac Efron plays Logan, a Marine who returns from Iraq in search of the woman he believes was his good luck charm overseas. He finds her (Beth, played by Taylor Schilling) and learns she runs a dog kennel with her son Ben and grandmother Ellie. Despite Beth's reservations, Ellie hires Logan to help with the work around the kennel, and Ellie ends up warming to the soldier.

Overall, critics are not impressed with the Scott Hicks-directed movie, but their reviews are mixed. Some claim that the acting is bland and the storyline is the typical "boy-meets-girl" Sparks experience, while others believe the romance is "well-constructed" given the source material. Either way, the film is sure to appeal to the author's fans and should fare well with romance lovers at this weekend's box office.

The Story
"The Sparks-styled romance has almost become its own movie genre — predictable, pure of heart, sentimental and never straying from the boy-meets-girl basics, or the surface, for that matter — and in that 'The Lucky One' delivers." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

The Romance
"The central love story is well-constructed for what it is; it offers the requisite amount of fantasy with just a miniscule dollop of realism." — James Berardinelli, Reelviews

"Their love scenes, like every other element of Hicks' film, are lighted in a way that gives everything an impossibly warm, romantic glow. You can roll your eyes, or you can give in." — Christy Lemire, The Associated Press

Zac Efron
"Efron does fill out the hunky-guy uniform nicely. He's no longer the scrawny teen from 'High School Musical.' But despite his promise in smaller movies like 'Me and Orson Welles,' here he's all flat affect, taking bottled-up angst to an extreme where you never actually see it. He's perfectly likable but never riveting, dropping the ball on the chance to portray the complicated psychology of a war veteran. Apart from one early scene in which he flinches at a video-game shooting, you never have the sense he's dealing with combat repercussions." — Sara Stewart, New York Post

The Final Word
"Part of the experience of a Nicholas Sparks movie is encountering revelations and reversals in the plot that challenge your sense of the preposterous. That's how destiny works: unlikely incidents pile up [and] good intentions go awry ... If realism is what you're after, you'll do better at 'The Three Stooges.' 'The Lucky One' is where you will find death, redemption and kisses in the rain." — A. O. Scott, New York Times

Check out everything we've got on "The Lucky One."

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