The trouble with the movie isn't that it's too girly-swoony; it's that it tries to achieve emotion through glowy sunsets and a paint-by-numbers script.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
The sun breaks through the clouds, you smile through your tears, and your cynicism - even the tiny voice in your head crying out, "Wait, none of this makes any sense!" - is silenced by sweet music and swelling sentiment.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The cliches are as thick as a vat of honey. And the love story proves just as syrupy.
- USA Today
A sudsy romantic melodrama that in the 1950s would have been directed with lurid overkill by the likes of Douglas Sirk.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Seeing [Schilling] and Efron fumble at each other is like watching a stick of butter and a bag of flour not turn into a cake.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
No amount of neck nuzzling or back arching can make us believe there's real heat rising between these two.
Chuck Wilson - Village Voice
[Hicks] hits the beats - lonely woman, hunky stranger - without bothering to develop even the slightest depth.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Unable as I am to locate any feelings about him, I see Mr. Efron as a hunk with a problem delivering sustained dialogue in units of more than one or two sentences.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
...a product that's rolled off the Nicholas Sparks assembly line with every ridiculous plot contortion hard-welded into the structure.
James Rocchi - MSN Movies
If you've ever liked a Nicholas Sparks movie, you're likely to enjoy this one.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The seventh and latest Sparks project to hit the screen, and the sixth one likely to elicit the response "Well, it's no 'Notebook.'"
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
As long as Efron's shirt comes off, he could play an accountant and no one in the target audience would care.
Tal Rosenberg - Chicago Reader
The latest screen adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romance in which fate, destiny, and sage cliches whirl together in a sugar crash of meaningful moments and tasteful eroticism.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
In "The Lucky One," an occasionally shirtless Zac Efron lifts heavy things, plays the piano, reads "Moby Dick," bonds with a small child and fixes a tractor. Puppies lick his face.
Barbara VanDenburgh - Arizona Republic
The trouble with destiny is that it leaves no room for surprise; ditto this safe midseason romancer.
Peter Debruge - Variety
I'm beginning to think writer Nicholas Sparks isn't one person at all, but a roomful of ladies doing Harlequin-romance Mad Libs.
Sara Stewart - New York Post
How can bestselling author Nicholas Sparks, the Thomas Kinkade of the paperback novel, keep churning out sluggish melodramas that lose not one ounce of sap on the trip to the big screen?
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Logan's opening voice-over describes how fate can throw one's life off-course, but nothing about the film that follows strays from Sparks' well-established tear-jerking formula...
William Goss - Film.com
Another Nicholas Sparks novel, another cinematic brush with insulin shock.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
The central love story is well-constructed for what it is; it offers the requisite amount of fantasy with just a miniscule dollop of realism. It's escapism for women and an adequate date flick. Or, to be more succinct, it's a Nicholas Sparks movie.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
There's no dramatic or visual scheme here, just random camera angles tossed and mixed.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
You can roll your eyes, or you can give in.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Efron acquits himself reasonably well. Is he sexy enough to make credible a scene where Beth seems to have an orgasm while washing dishes and watching him lift bags of dog food? Maybe not, but, honestly, who could?
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
The Lucky One doesn't have a genuine emotion in it or a plausible reason to endure it. It's strictly for the sisters of the cult of Sparks and the men who love them.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Well-acted schmaltz with some gaping plot holes.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
The Sparks-styled romance has almost become its own movie genre - predictable, pure of heart, sentimental and never straying from the boy-meets-girl basics, or the surface, for that matter - and in that "The Lucky One" delivers.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
How bad is this Zac attack? Well, let's just say I'm convinced director Scott Hicks opted to render his buff-and-scruffy star the strong, silent type just to keep Efron from opening his mouth.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Falling victim to his source material, Hicks fails to invest it with any sort of edge, rendering the cinematic version as mawkish and saccharine as Sparks' bloated prose.
Cara Nash - FILMINK (Australia)
Even within the company of recent Sparks releases like this year's 'The Vow', 'The Lucky One' comes across as a two-dimensional cartoon masquerading as heartfelt human interaction.
Mark Clark - What Culture
A pretty to look at but emotionally void film that does no favours for its otherwise lovely lead actors.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
The movie follows the Sparks formula so precisely, you could write out every detail of the plot just from watching the trailer.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
If you're after a high-quality weepie, this superbly crafted romantic melodrama from director Scott Hicks (Shine; The Boys Are Back) and novelist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook; Dear John) will drain your tear ducts.
Jim Schembri - 3AW
If you are inclined to say, 'they had me at Zac Efron' then the hunky actor and his scene-stealing boxer briefs will likely make any logic in this screenplay superfluous.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
There is not one real, natural, or genuine second in this movie. It's a standard, stock romance that felt more like the filmmakers were completing a checklist of "romantic drama" story cliches, than telling an actual story
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Unfortunately, this film will only appeal to those on date night or diehard Sparks fans.
Christine N. Ziemba - Paste Magazine
Clearly, weepie king Sparks is scraping for angsty love story scenarios.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
There's a thin line between the exploration of grief and its exploitation that this film crosses.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
All of this [plot] serves as justification for the movie's true purpose, which is to show two gorgeous-looking actors, Efron and Schilling, in artfully photographed and tasteful PG-13 sex scenes.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Old-fashioned romance to the core, Hicks' film will win no film-making accolades, but will do neither of its attractive leads any harm in the notoriety stakes either.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
It's all very contrived and sentimental and could easily be unbearably slushy, but director Scott Hicks just about keeps the schmaltz in check.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
After this performance no further evidence is needed of Efron's ability to do vulnerability and puppy love - we're ready now to see whether he can show any bite.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Hicks coats everything in a treacly glow that suffocates any sign of life, least of all from the cast.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
It is dispiriting to see Efron fall prey to the most dangerous rival of artistic expression facing young actors today: the Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Flicks don't come chickier than this.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
A tsunami of syrup and a Niagara of nonsense here in this mind-blowingly ridiculous romdram...
Zac Efron is Tom Cruise-lite. Beyond the blue eyes and man-scaped stubble, you are left with an actor who simply pauses on screen when he is not speaking.
Brian Henry Martin - UTV
[Efron] sells it almost single-handedly through sheer force of scrumminess.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
Romance isn't dead, but films like this are giving it a bad name.
Jessica Lambert - Little White Lies
If you're plugged into Sparks, you're in luck. Others are advised to bring a good book.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
This is romance by numbers and though not execrable, it's a movie for a wet Friday afternoon on the telly.
Alison Jones - Birmingham Post
Mindless, pretty twaddle just made bearable by an enthusiastic cast (Efron in particular is strangely sympathetic) and an absolutely gorgeous setting.
An averagely entertaining and heavily cliched romantic drama that stays the right side of watchable thanks to strong performances from Efron, Schilling and a scene-stealing Blythe Danner.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Even taken as simple schmaltz, 'The Lucky One' lacks the romantic impact of the adaptation of Sparks's 'The Notebook' or even the Channing Tatum-starrer 'Dear John'.
Anna Smith - Time Out
A through-and-through weepie that's unlikely to convert any Sparks naysayers. The darker hues of its war-based story nonetheless make the sugary excesses easier to swallow.
Emma Dibdin - Total Film
In the end, you can only whistle admiringly at the shameless way this film doles out its cliches and conventions...
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
The Notebook may have had us blubbing but since then Nicholas Sparks adaptions have offered thin pickings for cinemagoers. For all Efron's boyish charms, this one could be the most ordinary of the lot.
Helen OHara - Empire Magazine
Efron's kind of handsome is more pretty than rugged. Don't worry. The geniuses behind 'The Lucky One' know how to solve that problem. He's got scruff.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
What we have here, readers, is a middleweight Sparks movie fit to stand toe-to-toe with Nights in Rodanthe and The Last Song.
Tara Brady - Irish Times
A series of montages set to treacly light rock, loosely united by meandering dialogue scenes.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
If you like movies that portray, cheesy, perfect romance between perfect and beautiful people, this is for you.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
Zac Efron is stuck in no man's land between boy and man. This movie needed a strong male lead and he didn't deliver - not that his hordes of fans will care.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
You can sense that the more than competent director, Scott Hicks (the Oscar winning Shine), was trying to cut through the schmaltz and give it a little edge.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Move along, guys. Nothing to see in The Lucky One, unless you're in the doghouse at home and need to make nice. The movie isn't even in 3-D. How else do you expect real men to see two mushy hearts beating as one?
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
The Lucky One is so dismal, so off-kilter, so nonsensical that even the ever-ready charms of Zac Efron cannot redeem it in the slightest.
Kate Erbland - Film School Rejects
The most frustrating thing is that The Lucky One is the kind of movie in which the lead character has to be an idiot in order for the story to progress.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
I won't elaborate on the plot points. I'll just say that I could have done without the melodramatic elements that punctuate the film and underscore its climax.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Never let it be said that Nicholas Sparks doesn't prefer easy fake greeting-card melodrama instead of something that looks more like complicated reality.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Sweet but formulaic love story OK for teen romantics.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
[VIDEO] Compared to a great author like John Irving, Nicholas Sparks is an example of everything wrong in contemporary American literature.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
All the sentiment and staying power of a greeting card.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
This is guy repellent turf. You'll likely want to let her do this one alone. And she ought to think twice.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Wondering who, exactly, is The Lucky One? If, due to any combination of will, intuition or sheer ignorance, you circumvent this film then you, dear reader, are indeed the lucky one. And I am inordinately jealous...
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
There's not much to the movie besides handsome sets, sun-dappled photography and a plot as predictable as the verse in a Hallmark card.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Another story of two people thrown together to somehow display that they are soul mates, but all it did was make me dislike these movies even more.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Melodramatic comfort food for the Lifetime Channel crowd (Full Content Movie Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Efron is surprisingly up to the task of conveying this humanity. His performance is powerful and contained. He is often silent and yet he still communicates.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
The overheated eroticism could have at least made for a camp classic, but the film's chilling narcissism ultimately makes for a pleasureless fantasy.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Hardcore romance fans may enjoy parts of this. It's watchable, but overall, it's disappointing.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
A lazy (in all ways) Nicholas Sparks romance that's as pretty and vacant as its hero.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
...the most disappointing Sparks adaptation since 2002's A Walk to Remember...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
If only the movies based on Nicholas Sparks' novels didn't take themselves so seriously. If only they had a sense of their soapiness, and embraced their naked emotional absurdity.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Exactly the kind of sappy hogwash that Efron's detractors think is the only thing he's capable of doing.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
For all its soap-opera psychodrama, The Lucky One is pretty boilerplate stuff, with barely a smidgeon of surprise and a foregone conclusion.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
As with its gooey, smoochy Nicholas Sparks predecessors, The Lucky One is, beneath it all, a fairy-tale romance, just one with modern trappings.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
The film is at least good-natured and occasionally charming, less flagrantly offensive than many recent tear-jerkers. Yes, I am damning with faint praise.
Jason McKiernan - Filmcritic.com
A terrible movie through and through, featuring nonsensical plot elements, made-up legal entanglements and turns of coincidence that would make the writers of Scooby Doo blush
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
...no amount of technical gloss can extract the sap nor divert from the utter predictability of a Sparks' story.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
More time needed to be spent exploring these characters as opposed to showing us picturesque landscapes to the backdrop of songs preaching about love and sunshine.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
It's easy to get lucky when you look like Zac Efron.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
... the latest big-screen Sparks adaptation to place aggressive tear-jerking as a priority over dramatic integrity.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Actually sillier and more unbelievable than "The Vow," if such a thing is even conceivable
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
With zero chemistry and laden with cliches, The Lucky One won't leave audiences feeling lucky to have spent two hours of their lives taking in a screening.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
If those guys who make all those Scary Movie-style parodies ever tried to make fun of Nicholas Sparks books, you'd hardly be able to tell their mockeries from the originals.
Phil Villarreal - OK! Magazine
Sappy and sentimental, melting like a gooey marshmallow melodrama.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
This is a paint-by-numbers romance without a trace of subtlety, wit or sophistication.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Zac Efron and Nicholas Sparks team up to complete a paint-by-numbers.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
Efron is effortless as the wounded soul, Logan. He's almost a little too perfect. I mean really --- who is that good looking, patient, understanding and plays the piano?
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
The movie is manipulative, sentimental and totally predictable. Yet it works beautifully, primarily due to the fine performances of Efron and his leading lady, Taylor Schilling.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Scarcely enough substance to pad out a short poem, let alone a feature film.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
So hopelessly plodding and bland that an extra helping of fatalities could have only broken the monotony.
Too bad the story lets the young stars down, relying way too much on the villainy of a small-town bully and enough miscommunication for a whole season of Three's Company.
Peter Paras - E! Online
I suppose that's what all the lovemaking and partial nudity is for in these films, to distract from the obvious flaws in the writing.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Plays like a straight-faced parody of everything you'd expect from a [Nicholas] Sparks adaptation. Or a prototypical version of what people mean when they say they hate 'chick flicks.'
Geoff Berkshire - HitFix
Director Scott Hicks pours enough syrup over this movie to cover all the pancakes IHOP can serve in a month.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Another heaping helping of middlebrow mush from Nicholas Sparks, the modern-day version of Fannie Hurst.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
You get just what you'd expect from this Nicolas Sparks romance - good-looking people, ever so soft lighting, and music just tender enough to stir your soul while you watch the inevitability of soul mates finding true love.
Simon Weaving - Screenwize
When the film tries to inject anything resembling high drama, it gets dumb in a hurry.
Mike Russell - Oregonian
The lucky ones will be those who give this a wide berth.
James Croot - Flicks.co.nz
Another excessive melodrama based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
A drama with little conflict aside from an easily swept-aside threat for sole custody and little energy expended by the participants.
Ann Lewinson - Kansas City Star
Efron and Schilling simply look like two pretty people who are bound to get together because they both have the big blue eyes of a porcelain doll.
Alison Willmore - Movieline
Despite a plot hole so big it could generate its own gravity field, it's still not a bad movie.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
The immense success of Nicholas Sparks' novels means he must be doing something right, but it sure seems like he is telling the same story over and over again.
Paul Doro - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Will those who aren't inclined to appreciate a familiar romantic fantasy change their minds about this one? No. But if that concept is up your (carefully lit, dreamy) alley, then you may be the lucky one.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Has a dynamite premise which, sadly, it only sticks to in the first ten and last five minutes of the movie.
Stephen Silver - EntertainmentTell
Who knew that PTSD is the secret to an ideal boyfriend?
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Certainly no NOTEBOOK.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
The problem with The Lucky One isn't the material's familiarity; it's its lifelessness.
Matt Singer - ScreenCrush
The film's slow, relentless emotional manipulation eventually becomes insufferable to anyone who hasn't already bought into Nicholas Sparks' soapy formula.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
The emotions are flat, predictable and forced when they ought to be romantic.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
Neither pulses with longing nor justifies putting a child in danger for emotional pull.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Zac Efron isn't a bad actor, but this kind of sappy movie will do nothing to build his credibility.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The two romantic leads want so badly to be together but are kept apart by, well, nothing, really.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
"The Lucky One" left me stone cold.
Randy Myers - San Jose Mercury News
Nicholas Sparks destroys everything.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
When extraordinary coincidences drive a story just because no other elements step up to get the job done, it's hard not to feel jerked around.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
...a big serving of buttery sentimentality, splashed with drops of romance and thrift store spirituality.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
A by-the-numbers romance, this momentarily interesting picture is very much of the Nicholas Sparks brand.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
The luck runs out for novelist Sparks in dreary, soulless adaptation.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
Logan and Beth's relationship feels dull and perfunctory, and Efron's attempts at playing post-traumatic stress disorder are laughable.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
"The Lucky One" is the edgiest-ever film adaptation of the writings of Nicholas Sparks. Which isn't saying much.
Like its performers, The Lucky One isn't bad, so much as achingly banal, the sort of instantly consumable and forgettable factory-produced love story that leaves you with no impression whatsoever.
David Fear - Time Out
At this point, Sparksian romances unfold via their own preordained formula, and measures of their merits largely hinge on how well each can bend the cookie-cutter.
R. Kurt Osenlund - Slant Magazine
with his page-to-screen romantic melodramas, Sparks is author and auteur, reworking same ideas of fate and love, but it's Zac Efron, more physically mature and confident as actor, and Taylor Schilling who will attract the target audience.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Zac Efron's performance is a break-out moment - the announcement that a teen dream has made the transition to adult dramatic actor.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Nothing can prevent this from being an empty, shallow experience for those unlucky enough to see it.
Rob Carnevale - The List
Another pat, paint-by-numbers masterpiece by Nicholas Sparks, the undisputed king of the syrupy soap opera.
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
Sparks's books are more Mills & Boon than The Deer Hunter, with his characters little more than mere sketches. Only the women even vaguely register dramatically here.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
Unashamedly a chick flick, The Lucky One can be a trifle irritating with its characters' actions, but it's all in the service of delivering a romantic story couched in highly romanticised cinematic terms
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
The setting may be tranquil, but the underlying emotions expressed in Nicholas Sparks' novel are anything but, with complex themes involving relationships, passions and unresolved issues
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
The Lucky One features all of the usual Sparks hallmarks yet is played out at a steady pace where its tender love story flourishes to make for engaging, albeit sappy viewing.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews