The Lucky One

(PG-13) ★★☆☆☆

This latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation isn’t The Notebook, but it, like the author, knows its audience. Logan (Zac Efron) is a rattled Marine vet who’s ripe for the right woman to come along. In a night raid in Iraq, Logan finds a photo of a smiling woman in the rubble. Upon returning home, he sets out to find her (Taylor Schilling), the sister of his fallen comrade. Logan conveniently finds her and comes on as your typical hunky veteran handyman. The film is soft-serve Sparks, and the leads are a bit skittish, but it’s easy enough on the eyes.

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Sparks Minus Sparkle

By Michael Phillips, Tribune Media Services

You don’t need a message in a bottle to get the word out: Author Nicholas Sparks knows his audience. Conservative moviegoers (along with plenty of centrists and liberals) take to the latest Sparks adaptation, gratefully. They know they’re not going to get roughed up in terms of content, or ideologically insulted: Sparks writes best-sellers that treat military personnel with respect, churchgoing Christians likewise and red-state backdrops with fond, photogenic care.

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