Scarsdale’s Deborah Skolnick and her daughter Clara who is in sixth grade went to the premier of The Lucky One. Here is a multi-generaltional perspective:
Zac Efron is an actor with an identity problem. Having shot to stardom as jock Troy Bolton in the High School Musical movies, he’s long been a pin-up boy for the training bra and Tiger Beat set. Yet the 24-year-old wants (and needs, for the sake of his career) to stir the passions of a more mature audience. So perhaps it’s no shocker he was drawn to his latest role—a former military man plagued by identity issues of his own.
In The Lucky One, opening today, Efron plays Logan Thibault, a Marine recently returned home from Iraq. He survived three harrowing tours of duty aided by a talisman — a picture he’d discovered in the rubble of a raid, depicting a lovely blonde. Now stateside and emotionally adrift, he sets off cross-country to locate and thank the woman.
What he finds, in the bayous of Louisiana, is Beth Green — a quick-tempered dog trainer with plenty of other people in her own metaphorical picture. These include Ben, her adorably mop-topped son with her bullying ex, and ‘Nana,’ (played by Blythe Danner), the wry grandmother with whom she and Ben live. Gone but keenly grieved is the brother Beth lost in Iraq.
Will Logan stick around, and put down some much-needed roots? Will Beth’s bitterness melt under the gaze of Logan’s limpid blue eyes? Far more intriguing to ponder than the predictable plot is Logan’s fourth tour of duty: Operation Turn Zac Efron into a Grownup. Our boy…er, man, obviously pumped plenty of iron to bulk up for this role; it’s been reported he put on close to 20 pounds of pure muscle. Other edgy touches include scruffy facial hair and a smattering of badass tattoos. In one particularly memorable scene, he unsnaps a bra strap with a single hand. Bra-vo!
Yet the greater challenge remains unanswered: Getting us to totally buy him as sizzling-hot sheet meat. The hard sell, sadly, backfires. Leaden love-scene dialogue is no help – lines like “You should be kissed every day…every hour,” elicited more snickers from those around me than the concession stand could ever hope to peddle. Equally heavy-handed are the many allusions to chess, card games, and rickety bridges, representing the mysterious mixture of fortune and self-determination that guides our lives.
Viewers will be glad for the comic relief of Blythe Danner’s Nana, who gently goads Beth to give love a second try. Her koo-koo-ka-choo-Mrs.-Robinson winks and nods give the ladies in the audience—many of whom will doubtless be older than Efron—tacit permission to acknowledge that hey, he’s a hottie.
As I filed out of the theater, someone behind me told his companion, “Thanks for taking me to see this movie. I saw lots of previews and needed to confirm that it was as awful as I thought it would be.” Awww. But he was a man, of course. For women with a weakness for flowery love stories (and presumably there are plenty of us; the movie is based on a bestselling novel), this flick may be a satisfying journey. But I’m waiting for the day I see Zac Efron in a movie that showscases his talents to their fullest—something where he sings and dances, and romances in ways real adults actually do. That’s when I’ll feel like the lucky one.
From Clara Enders - Sixth grader at Scarsdale Middle School
The Lucky One was an interesting movie. The main reason I wanted to see it was to find out how Zac Efron has grown as an actor. The last time I saw him was in the High School Musical movies from Disney, which were amazing for me at the time.
The Lucky One is a love story too, but a different kind. It is about Logan Thibault, a marine who comes home after finding a picture of a girl right before there is an explosion. He believes that the picture saved his life, and the girl in the photo is his guardian angel. He makes it his mission to find her.
When he finally does, she is not who he thinks she is. Beth Green’s life is complicated: She is a single mom whose brother died in a war-as a marine. Her ex-husband is a total turtlehead. He makes it his goal to terrorize Beth, and threatens to take their son, Ben. Logan’s challenge is to find a place in Beth’s life, while putting his chilling war memories aside.
To be honest, I didn’t think highly of The Lucky One. I found the plot to progress too quickly and that caused it to not really make any sense. One day Beth hates Logan, then the next scene she’s madly in love. The ex-husband was such a one-dimensional bully that he didn’t seem like a real person. He even pulled a gun on Logan’s dog, which was just low. My favorite characters were Beth’s grandmother and Ben. Beth’s grandmother had some funny jokes, and kept Beth from taking herself too seriously. Ben was a really great actor, considering his age. He showed true emotion and acted with feeling.
I was especially disappointed by the movie’s ending because everything worked out perfectly. Overall, in its own twisted way, The Lucky One resembled a grown-up Disney movie.
Clara Enders is a sixth grader at Scarsdale middle school. Deborah Skolnik, her mother, is a senior editor at Parenting magazine.