Oh, great, another Nicholas Sparks movie. Please read that sentence with the exact inflection that I wrote it with, and you’ll see my overwhelming enthusiasm for this script. Rather than having to actually summarize this movie, I’m just going to go head and summarize every single Nicholas Sparks movie ever made.
A fun and interesting boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets an uptight priss with a stick in her rear. Turns out, uptight priss has a good reason for said stick. Insert one of the following clichés; overbearing mother, caricature of an abusive ex, or tragic past. Make sure no one wants them to be together, because the characters always live in a world where no one in the universe can mind their own business. Bring it all home by tossing in some old people for a bit of 20/20 hindsight about the enduring power of love.
And you have a Nicholas Sparks movie. That formula (and late 30s spinsters) is the whole reason Nicholas Sparks has a career. If movies were food, Nicholas Spark movies would be heads of iceberg lettuce. They’re not particularly memorable, but they sell in bulk because boring people like them. This movie is no exception. It’s simply a bunch of rehashed plotlines pulled out of the Sparks-O-Matic 3000.
The clichés are Southern and thorough. Their first date is a picnic barbeque where Sophia, our idiot main character swoons, “no one has ever done this for me before,” when her rodeo hunk brings her some take-out barbeque.
Really, lady? Really? No one has ever brought you take out? It might be time to raise your standards.
The dialog is trite and idiotic. A few sample lines include “time is precious’ and “love requires sacrifice”. The lines they spewed made me face palm myself into a near concussion.
There’s plenty of north meets south, from Manhattan galleries, to southern rodeos. They toss in some line dancing (which no one has done since 1998) and some ballroom dancing (which no one has done since 1898) for good measure. On its own, with a City Slickers vibe, this might have been a cute story.
I didn’t particularly care about the characters and I didn’t find that they had much chemistry. Britt Robertson as Sophia was utterly forgettable and Scott Eastwood felt like he was in the wrong movie. I felt like he genuinely did get lost on the way to the rodeo. It might have been wise if Scott had followed the path of daddy dearest and went strict western because this effort was just embarrassing.
Alan Alda charmed, of course, but Alan Alda always charms. You could cast the guy as Hitler and people in the audience would start thinking “well, maybe Hitler was just misunderstood.” This was a case of one good actor rising above the script, while the rest rested on bad dialog and Nicholas Sparks’ name.
This was a financially brilliant mess. A mass produced pile of drippy sugar, wrapped in a bunch of pretty pink bows, and delivered to the doors of cat ladies everywhere. It will probably make millions.
WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!