A ‘notebook’ full of reasons to avoid this Sparks adaptation

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A ‘notebook’ full of reasons to avoid this Sparks adaptation

Courtesy of Relativity Media

Courtesy of Relativity Media

Courtesy of Relativity Media

Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel spark little more than frustration in this Sparks-inspired film.

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Looking for a bad experience to share with your significant other? Well, look no further than “Safe Haven.” Directed by  Lasse Halstrom, “Safe Haven” is about as well made as any other movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book. So, uh, not very good at all.

“Safe Haven” is the sort of film that obviously feels pleased with itself. It is very clear that all those present during the making of this time sink felt good about themselves. They thought they were making a cool, smart film, but, in reality, this may just be the sappiest, dumbest film of the year.

Julianne Hough plays Katie, a young girl on the run from a past that is desperately seeking to catch up with her. She settles down in Southport, N.C. where she meets Alex, played by Josh Duhamel, the town widower.

Save for some totally out of left field twists near the end, “Safe Haven” is one of those boring movies that you can call about five minutes after it starts.

If you are a fan of nuanced acting, keep looking, because you won’t find any here. Duhamel does well enough with what he is given, but that’s a lot like saying a grill chef does well enough with a bowl of crackers. No matter how you prepare the crackers, at the end of the day, they are still crackers.

Hough is interesting in that she is so bad that she makes an otherwise bland role stand out. I guess, congratulations are in order. Somebody should tell her that this is not a LifeTime movie, but then again, it might as well be for all the cheap melodramatic excitement it tries to dish out.

I have never been so close to walking out of a film at so many different intervals, but “Safe Haven” is that trying on your nerves.

The film’s writers, Gage Lansky and Dana Stevens, did not so much write the script as they borrowed scenes from other Nicholas Sparks projects and welded them together in some sort of unholy film abomination.

With a bit of jiggering, this could have been an underdeveloped horror film. Get this: the film’s heroine lives alone in a cabin in the woods. At the film’s beginning, she sleeps in her cabin with the windows open.

If only some crazed knife wielding psycho had come in and ended this thing early, but of course there can be no happy endings.