[Scott Broome/Unsplash]

Safe Haven

00:00 February 26, 2013
By: Fritz Esker

Director Lasse Hallstrom has been nominated for an Academy Award (for The Cider House Rules) and made one of the early 90s' more memorable fi lms with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (the fi lm that made people take notice of Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting abilities). But lately, he’s settled in to adapting Nicholas Sparks novels. is his second Sparks adaptation (after Dear John). The result is predictably bland, benign, and ultimately mediocre.

The movie opens with a mysterious incident that sends a young woman (Julianne Hough) on the run with a tenacious detective on her trail. She settles in a small town and slowly begins to build a life again. She meets a handsome widower (Josh Duhamel of Transformers) and falls in love with him, becoming a surrogate mom to his two children. While never infuriating or offensive, the fi lm feels like a by-the-numbers TV movie you’d see on Lifetime. It doesn’t take enough risks to be hated or loved.

Disclaimer: I am obviously not the target audience for this fi lm. My mom saw it. When I asked her what she thought, she said, “Good, if you like schmaltzy stuff.” If Nicholas Sparks adaptations are your thing, go nuts.

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