Director: Ross Katz
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Alexandra Daddario, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson
This umpteenth (eleventh to be precise) film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel, doesn’t augur well for the state of the romantic sub-genre of Hollywood movies. ‘The Notebook’ may have established itself as a cult romantic hit but the same success was not replicated in ‘Nights in Rodanthe’ and ‘The Last Song’ even though they were considered to be middling successes. ‘The Choice’, this current movie under review, is in fact the least exciting among all of Nicholas Sparks’ novel adaptations.
The script by Bryan Sipe, is so patently obvious in its manipulations. The voiceover narrative device doesn’t help either. You can actually see the end denouement coming. Gabby (Teresa Palmer), a promising young medical resident from Charleston, who is in a committed relationship with her beau (Tom Welling) gets gob-smacked by love when she moves next door to Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker), a babe-magnet veterinarian with commitment issues. Their homes are situated on a picture-perfect island off the coast of North Carolina, so the setting’s pretty much suitable for the pair to flirt and fall for each other. The future looks bright for the pair until a rain-slicked misfortune which changes the course of their love-life, befall them. It’s so damn predictable that the entire run up to that point becomes boring. The tedious part comes after when you, armed with your handkerchiefs, get set to be flooded.
The story is stale and un-enterprising, the characters have now assumed stereotype, the twists can be seen a long way off and the eventual coming together is generically as expected. So where’s the surprise? Yes, Valentine’s Day is near and this day and date release across US and India is quite in keeping with that but the designed-to-make-you-weep handkerchief drama has little to keep even the die-hard fans interested. As a result you end up weeping at all the wrong places. There’s absolutely no chemistry between the lead performers so that makes believability extremely suspect. Tom Welling is the only one to muster up some likeability for himself. The rest are just puppets on a string. Ross Katz is unable to make a meal of this self-congratulatory weepie and that’s a pity for the romance hungry community.