Death, Redemption, & Kisses in the Rain: Plot of The Lucky One Recreated with Reviews

As you may know by now, whenever there’s a new Nicholas Sparks movie out, I get inexpressibly excited. We’ve got this feature where we take a movie we know we’re probably not going to see and try to recreated the entire plot using only expository (and usually passive-agressive) quotes from the critics forced to suffer through it (NO ANALYSIS!). Nothing works better for this feature than schmaltzy Nick Sparks movies (my personal favorite was the one where Miley Cyrus turned down her piano scholarship to Juilliard to rescue sea turtles). Sparks’ latest is The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron as a Marine (STOP LAUGHING! MATT UFFORD IS A MARINE AND HE WAS THE ZAC EFRON OF UPROXX!) who returns from Iraq to find himself, and on the way, finds love. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, this is definitely a record for the most times I’ve read “sun-dappled” in a single day. Another popular sentiment seemed to be”Who’s The Lucky One? Not the audience, LOL!”

So here we go. (Note, if you open this link in another tab, you’ll have a nice soundtrack to set the mood).

In the opening narration to “The Lucky One,” Zac Efron’s somber Marine explains that before “finding the light, you have to struggle through the dark.”

“You know, some things can change your life,” he says.  And somewhere between that comma and “some thing” you can feel him toss his hair. (BostonGlobe)

“How do you explain something you don’t understand yourself?” (Toronto)

Efron plays Logan Thibault, a Marine in Iraq who has just returned from his third tour of duty, having survived while many of his comrades were blown to pieces. A photo of a mysterious woman, a beautiful blonde, dropped in the rubble by an unknown soldier, became his good-luck charm there, and Logan aims to track down its subject. (NYPost/Newark/WaPo)

He doesn’t know her name. But a quick spin around the internet helps him identify her town as a small one in Louisiana. And so he decides to walk there. With his dog. All the way from Colorado. (Newark)

He tracks down the girl – who turns out to be a single mother named Beth. (WAPO)
Beth lives in a small Louisiana town with her adorable curly-haired son (Riley Thomas Stewart) and tart grandmother (Blythe Danner). (NYDN) Our heroine works in her family’s kennel, which seems to be run out of a Victorian mansion. (Newark)

Logan arrives on the scene, but somehow can’t bring himself to mention he’s carrying a photo of her. (NYPost) Beth mistakes him for a job applicant. Since there would be no movie if he corrected her, he keeps his mouth shut and starts working there. (NYDN)

Beth resists Logan as long as she can—he tends to creep her out because he can’t tell her why he’s come. (WSJ) Our hero rents an old shotgun shack and, with a bit of elbow grease, turns it into a furniture catalog, complete with a canopied bed and an adorable outdoor shower. (Newark)

Most of “The Lucky One” consists in proving how sensitive Logan is (he reads Melville and plays the piano with a suitably faraway look).(WAPO) He also plays piano and quotes Dr. Seuss. (Toronto)

…and how put-upon Beth is as she clatters around her grandmother’s impeccably distressed cottage. (WAPO)

The kennel’s dogs are mostly playful, and the movie uses exactly the right amount of Spanish moss. (WSJ)

Beth, meanwhile, has to embarrass herself by saying the words “jambalaya” and “Voltaire” and by pretending to be close to orgasm while standing at a kitchen sink and watching Efron sling heavy sacks in the cab of a truck. (BostonGlobe)

On a date, Beth takes Logan’s hand and says, “I want to show you something. This is where I come when I want to be alone.” (NYPost)

Beth is slow to warm up to the muscular serviceman, who’s good with kids, dogs and gutter repair. But she eventually melts, leading to some discreetly gauzy sex against a wall.(NYPost)

A silent, sensitive loner kisses a woman in the rain and then jumps into a river to save her son’s life. (NYDN)

The plucky woman. The soulful man. The picturesque locations along the Southern seaboard. (Newark)

Pretty montages, long shots of orange sunrises and red sunsets over the bayou. Close-ups of his impossibly lush eyelashes and bright blue eyes. (Toronto)

Beth’s folksy grandmother dispenses adages about appreciating life in the moment, and the occasional ribald aside — as when she catches her daughter onanistically soaping a dishpan while gazing out the window at Logan lifting heavy objects. (NYPost)

Nana wanders around in the background, making small sounds of approval.(Newark)

Beth’s ex, Keith, the town sheriff, is a mean-spirited jerk to Logan upon first meeting. Who’d have thought he’d be back later on to do something terrible? Even for a jilted lover, his treatment of Logan seems implausibly harsh: Would a policeman really jeer a Marine just back from Iraq with the moniker “soldier boy”? (NYPost)

Keith’s a dullard, a drunk, and a man so dumb he appears to be serious about mispronouncing Logan’s surname – in Louisiana! Keith is the local sheriff (he’s onto you, Logan), a politician’s son, and the kind of guy called upon, in a movie like this, to lock eyes with the hero for enough seconds to make you wonder whether the hate Keith claims to feel for Logan is really something else altogether. (Boston Globe)

As always, a concluding paragraph is a little hard to come by when you’re quoting reviewers who generally don’t like to spoil the end of the movie. But I think this one will do:

Yes, someone dies. “The Lucky One” is where you will find death, redemption and kisses in the rain. (NY Times)

Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal,, Boston Globe (a dude who just won a Pulitzer), WashingtonPost, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newark Star-Ledger