I love to read, but I have to admit something. I’ve only read one Nicholas Sparks book in my life (A Walk to Remember made me bawl like a baby). Are you a fan of Nicholas Sparks books? What about his movies?I had the opportunity to screen the new Nicholas Sparks movie “The Choice” earlier this week, and, honestly, I was a little let down by this most recent dramatization of one of Mr. Sparks’ novels. Now, I must confess, I have not read this particular novel, but I figure they are all pretty similar in nature: girl meets guy (or vice versa), girl falls in love with guy (or vice versa), some big tragedy or something similar occurs, and they have to overcome it together or without each other. Pretty easy formula to follow, right?
When the movie opens, we meet Travis Parker, played by the dashingly handsome Benjamin Walker, on a boat on his way to a hospital with a bouquet of flowers. Then we flash back several years to Travis as the town’s most eligible bachelor who just can’t seem to stay committed to anyone until his cute, medical student neighbor, Gabby, played by the beautifully talented Teresa Palmer, comes over to complain about his loud music and rebuff Travis’ advances while she’s at it. It’s a classic Nicholas Sparks-ian romance set-up.I wanted to like this movie more than I did. Having seen better fare from the Sparks’ camp like “A Walk to Remember” and “The Last Song” (yes, I enjoyed the Miley Cyrus movie, and, no, I still haven’t seen “The Notebook”), I went into this film screening expecting the usual story line, but with a few things they stayed with me and tugged at my heartstrings. There wasn’t nearly enough of the latter in this film.For as much of a tear-jerker Nicholas Sparks movies tend to be, I ended up laughing a lot during this film. Gabby and Travis have some hilarious one-liners that are very realistic of what it’s like when you’re young, in love, and trying to figure out your relationship with someone. Without spoiling it for you, it was the ending that really got me. It seemed a little too easy (and not very believable, according to my nurse friend who went with me) to wrap it up the way they did. If you are willing to suspend all sense of reality, then the ending will make you very, very happy. I just wasn’t a huge fan of it.
The supporting cast is top notch and really helps round out the film. Tom Wilkinson, who I’ve loved in his many roles, but especially in “The Patriot,” plays Travis’ dad, Dr. Shep, Maggie Grace (of “Taken” fame) plays his wise-cracking sister, Steph (who has a lot of great one-liners herself), and Tom Welling plays the “other man” in the picture, (who make me think twice about flirting with Travis, but then again I’m not Gabby) Dr. Ryan McCarthy. Without these key players, the storyline would be so much more predictable and definitely not as funny.“The Choice” is worth your time if you’re looking for a simple, romantic film with an easy storyline. It’s perfect for a girls night out or as an alternative to high-stress action or somber, based-on-a-true-story movies.
“The Choice” is currently playing in theaters nationwide.