This is a subtlety-free zone where sexual attraction is symbolized by soap — whether Beth and Logan are washing dishes, washing dogs or, in the climactic love scene, washing each other, “The Lucky One” is a series of drippy events culminating in an inevitably moist weather-related disaster. The emotional pivot points are so overwrought that they almost qualify as absurdist comedy.
And yet, Efron is clearly trying hard to transcend the emotional limitations of his character — when he is allowed to briefly break into a dance, it feels like a relief after all that repression. Danner is typically effortless as the wisecracking grandma, but the melodrama ramps into high gear when Schilling and Ferguson's characters squabble over divorce and custody issues. Schilling often plays too large with her emotions and Ferguson portrays the troubled ex-husband as a stock baddie and only finds some redemption toward the end.
The films based on Sparks' novels often rise or fall based on the skills of the actors and directors involved, and while there has yet to be a masterpiece, movies such as “The Notebook” have their faithful followers. But because it is often too overwrought or silly for the romance to be taken seriously, “The Lucky One” can't catch a break.
— George Lang