Safe Haven  (2013)    53/100

Rating :   53/100                                                                     115 Min        12A

This is the latest film adaptation of one of Nicholas Sparks’ novels, which will justifiably see many self respecting men, and women, avoiding it like the plague. Like all his previous adaptations, this follows an identical template – the young lovers who could be together were it not for some exterior threat which gets in the way and leads to a confrontation at the end. Ever since ‘The Notebook’ (04), which was actually quite good, the stories have been going steadily downhill, but this isn’t too bad, with both leads, played by Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough (‘Footloose’ {11}, ‘Rock of Ages’ {12}) proving likeable enough to at least hold some interest. Sparks now has his own production company which appears on the credits here, so we can look forward to seeing all of his stories turned into films with the same predictably nice locations, nice music, good looking actors and hollow drama for the perfection of his feel good, but largely flimsy, fare. Disappointingly, Lasse Hallstrom (‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’) directs – his work generally carries a lot of respect, but since this is his second Sparks adaptation (the other being ‘Dear John’{10}) one can’t help but feel they function as mere potboilers between his other projects. A sudden plot twist at the end also reveals Sparks has largely been taking the piss all the way through.

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