If you’ve seen one Nicholas Sparks movie you’ve seen them all. Not that I haven’t liked the majority of them. But when it comes to romance and this author, you know you’re in for a love story that has to overcome obstacles before it can end happily ever after.
“Safe Haven” starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough play the lovebirds in this version and their chemistry seems more of a cute couple dating rather than passionate lovers but they both deliver a sweetness nonetheless. Hough plays Katie, who leaves a dangerous past and ends up in a sleepy town along the North Carolina shore (as is the setting for all of Sparks’ novels) where she meets Alex (Duhamel) a widowed dad of two and a nosy neighbor, Jo who helps push Katie along to be more receptive of hospitality and love. What unravels is a whole lot of vanilla with Alex’s two kids taking most of the scenes they’re in.
The story is better meant for Lifetime television, but for a Valentine’s Day debut, it will do. Also, with these movies come good-looking leading actors so Duhamel alone might be reason enough for single ladies make a Valentine’s Day date.
It’s definitely not my favorite of the bunch, mainly because of the lack of chemistry and the real development of relationships on all levels. Also, the unexpected that comes in the books delivers better than they ever do on screen. But Sparks knows his audience. He knows what works and he knows a romantic movie of his scheduled for Valentine’s Day will have a higher rate of box office success.
Final words: Like a scoop of vanilla ice cream - sweet enough, but doesn’t really satisfy all the way.