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025: The Lucky One

Maximilian Rivera September 13, 2016
by Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: A Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%


Mix a hunky heartthrob, a pretty-yet-down-to-earth lady, and some background noise set in a seaside town and what do you get? Well, any Nicholas Sparks movie, but this time around, we’ll call it The Lucky One (2012). 

Which is what we watched this week!

​This film stars Zac Efron as a newly returned Iraq War veteran looking to find his good luck charm, played by dog kennel owning Taylor Schilling. Blythe Danner is also in this, as the quirky grandmother who wants to get her a piece of that tasty Zefron.


We establish what makes a Sparks romance work, as well as what this film did right and wrong. We round the episode out by playing a game we call Sparks or Not Sparks, where Max has to guess what are actual Nicholas Sparks movies based on synopsis alone. 

As far as The Lucky One, it’s a much better film than last week’s selection, but it does leave some to be desired. Zac Efron captures his normal baseline charisma, but doesn’t do the usual full-Efron charm. He’s a one-note character, and it would have been nice to see his PTSD addressed. 

The rest of the characters serve as background to unite our two love interests–which they do unite by the end, of course. Taylor Schilling plays her role well enough, but left us confused as to WHY she was so upset about her brother’s found photograph.


The Lucky One hits all the moments it needs to in order to satisfy its core audience. We can’t fault it for that! But we hope to encounter some great romance movies eventually, and maybe one or two will also be Sparks properties. 

If you have a lot of thoughts about Nicholas Sparks movies, hit us up at TheCriticalBreakdownPodcast@gmail.com! Or leave us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or any other podcatcher around.

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.