In this predictable romance, Zac Effron plays US Marine, Logan, who’s life is saved when he finds a woman’s picture in the desert. He becomes convinced that she is his guardian angel and, on his return to North Carolina, he decides to find and thank her.

The back story to The Lucky One’s main plot – Logan’s near death experience and subsequent agony on his return home – are dealt with too simply and much too quickly to be believable. What is potentially the most interesting part of this story – how Efron finds his guardian angel, Beth (Taylor Schilling), working at a kennels in Louisiana – is also skimmed over in barely more than a couple of minutes. At its outset, The Lucky One feels weak and implausible at best.

Luckily, once Efron meets his guardian angel, there is something to invest in. The romance storyline is strong and patters along at a reasonable pace – albeit how things will turn out is pretty clear.

There is nothing strikingly original about The Lucky One and an over-reliance on musical montages quickly becomes dull. Efron’s emotionless expressions also grow tiring as the film ticks on. He looks much too polished in his scenes as a Marine and, although his straight-facedness is no-doubt intended to reflect his inner struggle, it just doesn’t seem to come off. For a film that should be centred on emotion, there are a few convenient turns in the plot that are skimmed over without any real strength of feeling from the characters involved.

The supporting cast is more than decent enough. Beth’s power mad and domineering ex-husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) feels cliche at first, but, over time, Ferguson ups his sinister and becomes quite a threatening force.

The best performances in The Lucky One come from Blythe Danner, as Beth’s Grandma, and Riley Thomas Stewart, as Beth’s son. Both add genuine warmth, light heartedness and dynamism to a film that could otherwise have teetered on the edge of boring.

The Lucky One has its faults – a weak back story, a predictable finish and convenient plot turns  – but at its centre there is a solid romance with strong chemistry between the leads. Let down by its beginning and end, the Lucky One is sentimental and unrealistic but has enough heart to keep it going.

VERDICT: ✪ ✪

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