The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Safe Haven | Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCREJacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

Safe Haven | Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons | Review

Here’s another based-on-the-Nicholas Sparks-novel date movie for you and you know what that means.  If you don’t, you’ll soon figure it out.

Katie (Julianne Hough) has some secrets; the first is that her name is not really Katie.  Another is that her hair used to be brown instead of blonde and she has escaped from her hometown in terror, a detective (David Lyons) hot on her trail.

She ends up in a small coastal town to start a new life, and in impossibly rapid order lands a job, a home, a BFF (Cobie Smulders) and a handsome, recently widowed, single dad love interest (Josh Duhamel).  The music swells and romance blooms.  Apparently blondes really DO have more fun.

Not so fast.  The law is after her, remember?  Katie’s idyllic life is threatened by her past which catches up with her.  Doesn’t it always?  The suspense helps cut the schmaltz.  Or so you’d think.

The element of danger is supposed to offset the frothy love story that also involves two motherless children (Noah Lomax and Mimi Kirkland), and it does add a much-needed break from scenes enhanced by the meaningful swell of an easy listening soundtrack.

Naturally, one of the two lovebirds don’t know that they’re supposed to like each other at first the way the audience does, so there is a contrived wait for them to catch up.  When they do there are many scenes of sunsets, lush vegetation, and a canoe ride through a mossy lake. Cue soundtrack.

A surprise twist (there are supposed to be two, but one is obvious early on) works well and it is one of the few plot points that does, but appears much too late to save the day, or the viewer her admission cost.  Notice the use of “her.”  Men are not the target audience for this and they know it.

Julianne Hough is likable enough, and so is her cinematic love interest, Josh Duhamel, but only David Lyons’ menacing character remains sap-free and unencumbered by sentimental mandates.

Director Lasse Hallstrom (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat) has an impressive directorial pedigree, but even he can’t transcend the clichéd material, pieces of which you’ve seen done before (and better) in other films.  This is his second Sparks effort and the best that can be said for it is at least it’s better than the execrable Dear John.

If you’re really looking for a safe haven (from silly, mushy predictability) it’s probably best to bypass this part of town.

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