Let’s start this off by pointing out my deep hatred for Nicholas Sparks. Sorry, but if that guy was a girl, his novels would be regulated to nothing more than porn for bored housewives. Because he’s a man, his ‘visionary novels’ get made into terrible movie after terrible movie while everyone talks about what a deep and sensitive man he is.
I have a theory. I don’t think Nicholas Sparks exists. I think it’s a name they slap on novels in order to make them sell…and we’re all falling for it.
Anyway, the movie follows the standard Nicholas Sparks format. Dawson (James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Moneghan) fall in love when they’re young. Forces outside their control drive them apart. Twenty years later, they meet again at the funeral of a friend. They start yet another mercurial romance and wouldn’t you know it…people are trying to drive them apart all over again.
One thing that drives me crazy about all these movies is the big problem could always be resolved by doing something simple. The heroine just needs to say no. Watch me do it.
Film antagonist – You need to stop seeing him.
Heroine – No.
Film antagonist – But I told you not to.
Heroine – Tough titties. I’m 40 and I don’t need your permission to date.
See how easy that was? Of course, then we wouldn’t get to see a drawn out movie about the elusive power of first love…so it’s a win/win in my book.
Silly storyline aside, there were something significantly wrong with the leads as well. James Marsden, complete with patchy beard, comes off almost a little creepy in this movie. I don’t know if it’s because of the stilted dialog or the clichéd story line, but he feels more like a Lifetime movie stalker than a love interest.
Moneghan apparently only knows how to show sadness by frowning slightly or tearing up. I’m not sure if it’s because she had the majority of her face botoxed for the roll, of she’s just that bad, but she had all the depth of a puddle.
Also, this is one of my pet peeves; the actors playing the young versions of the leads look nothing like the characters they are supposed to grow into. Luke Bracey, who plays the young Dawson, actually looks older than James Marsden.
Maybe that’s why they made Marsden grow a beard? But you’re still left wondering how he managed to actually shrink over a period of 20 years. Lilliana Liberto isn’t as bad as young Amanda, but aside from hair color, still looks nothing like her grown up version.
Shirts are apparently in short supply in this universe, and I can guarantee that you’re going to see both Marsden and Bracey whipping off their shirts for just about everything from swimming, to gardening to dinner in a 5 star restaurant.
Ok, I made the last one up, but you get my drift.
The Best of Me seems to showcase the worst of Sparks, which in my opinion, is a feat unto itself. The recycled storyline, coupled with stilted dialog and ridiculous run time to tell a clichéd story (nearly 2 hours) makes this movie one that you’ll probably want to skip.