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April 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sweet but not too syrupy” may not sound like much of a recommendation for The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling. But that is Betsy Sharkey’s description of the movie in the Los Angeles Times, and it is one of the better reviews it has received. (Compare that with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea who recommends the film for folks “who prefer their love stories slathered in syrup.”) Sharkey has little to say about the performances of the two leads — although she does remark that Zac Efron, who reportedly gained 50 pounds of muscle for the part, “gives the actor some substance, offsets his pretty just enough, and grounds his performance.” But she singles out for special praise director Scott Hicks, whose “measured hand,” she says, keeps The Lucky One from turning into complete mush.” Christy Lemire of the Associated Press also credits Hix for providing the movie with “a certain tasteful artfulness.” She calls it “harmless date-night fare.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times sums up: “If you’ve ever liked a Nicholas Sparks movie, you’re likely to enjoy this one.” And here’s A.O. Scott’s recommendation in the New York Times: “If realism is what you’re after, you’ll do better at The Three Stooges. The Lucky One is where you will find death, redemption and kisses in the rain.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal goes out of his way to find something positive to say about the film, settling on: “The kennel’s dogs are mostly playful, and the movie uses exactly the right amount of Spanish moss.” So does Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune: “The sunsets and sunrises and sunbeams through the windowpanes fall easily on the eyes.” And Sara Stewart in the New York Post recommends the “slow-mo dog-grooming montage.” But Linda Barnard in the Toronto Star was left unmoved. “The Lucky One doesn’t even manage to elicit a token tear,” she writes, “except perhaps one of boredom.”