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Review: Safe Haven

Feb. 13, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Katie (Julianne Hough) is a young woman on the run, who lands in a sleepy North Carolina town, and tries to start a new life. She quickly falls for Alex (Josh Duhamel) - a widowed father of two- but their bliss is threatened by Katieís past.

REVIEW: SAFE HAVEN is a return to the Nicholas Sparks well for director Lasse Hallstrom, after making DEAR JOHN a few years ago. SAFE HAVEN is being hyped as a departure for Sparks, with this adding some thriller elements into the mix. Basically, this is a really tame version of SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, mixed in with Sparksí usual small-town, folksy idealized romance. Like in THE NOTEBOOK, DEAR JOHN, THE LUCKY ONE, etc- the characters are less like real people than idealized romantic stereotypes, with Duhamelís widowed father being particularly saintly. Anyone wanna bet the doe-eyed Hough is going to fall for the single dad? Yeah- thought soÖ

Then again, you donít exactly walk into a Sparks adaptation expecting BLUE VALENTINE, and for about half of SAFE HAVEN, its no worse than other big-screen adaptations of his work (heck- I even kinda liked THE NOTEBOOK). Hough and Duhamel are a pretty, but bland pair- although they do well enough with the simple, predictable material. Cobie Smulders, in the bland ďbest friendĒ part livens things up a bit, but even she canít make something out of nothing- which is exactly what she gets to work with here. For his part, Hallstrom seems to be on autopilot, and itís sad to think that this movie- which is really no better directed than your run-of-the-mill Lifetime TV-movie, comes from the director of WHATíS EATING GILBERT GRAPE, MY LIFE AS A DOG, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, THE HOAX, and other- far better films. Still, itís not awful.

That is- itís not awful until the second hour, when the thriller aspect of the film starts to take over. Just in case anyone reading this has a hankering to go so it, or is dragged by their significant other, Iíll try not to give too much away. But- the so-called ďthrillerĒ part of the film is really bad, with the sweaty, crazy-eyed cop pursuing Hough (David Lyons) obviously being up to no good. It all climaxes in a big 4th of July fireworks display/fire that doesnít offer the slightest amount of tension, and in fact- is eye-rollingly bad in its clichťs.

However- thatís not the worst part of SAFE HAVEN. Not by a long shot. The worst part of SAFE HAVEN is the final, ridiculous twist thatís probably the most unintentionally hilarious ending since the jaw-dropping stupidity of REMEMBER MEís September 11th twist. This isnít quite as off-the-wall, but itís just as bad. Oh well- dumb as this ending is, at least itís not bland, which is more than I can say for the rest of the movie. Fact is- a Nicholas Sparks adaptation plays to a specific audience, and if THE LUCKY ONE or DEAR JOHN had you reaching for your hankies, youíll probably get some mild enjoyment out of this. If, like me- all the Sparks adaptations tend to blur into one big generic movie, youíd be well advised to skip this. Heck- even as a date movie itís a failure. Stay home and rent THE NOTEBOOK instead.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:02PM on 02/13/2013

OK, I need you to spoil the ending for me.

I know others might actually be interested in seeing this, but after you compared it to the absurdity that was the Remember Me ending I need someone to tell me what happens in this or I will waste countless minutes searching other websites for it. Someone please reply. Thank you.
I know others might actually be interested in seeing this, but after you compared it to the absurdity that was the Remember Me ending I need someone to tell me what happens in this or I will waste countless minutes searching other websites for it. Someone please reply. Thank you.
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2:58PM on 02/13/2013
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Hough's friend in the movie was Colbie Smudlers who was actually Duhamel's dead wife and Hough was talking to a ghost.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Hough's friend in the movie was Colbie Smudlers who was actually Duhamel's dead wife and Hough was talking to a ghost.
4:00PM on 02/13/2013
Wow, that is terrible. Thank you for quelling my curiosity. Much obliged.
Wow, that is terrible. Thank you for quelling my curiosity. Much obliged.
11:02AM on 02/13/2013
Agree with Jedd the Jedi below. If you're looking for a good romantic movie, try Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It's that good.
Agree with Jedd the Jedi below. If you're looking for a good romantic movie, try Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It's that good.
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6:05AM on 02/13/2013
I knew without having to watch this movie that this formula still applied...

[link]
I knew without having to watch this movie that this formula still applied...

[link]
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3:54AM on 02/13/2013
Yeah, this one was bad, but then again what else are we to expect from a Nicholas Sparks adaptation? Lasse Halstrom's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was bright, unconventional, interesting and romantic, and this is definitely many steps down.
Yeah, this one was bad, but then again what else are we to expect from a Nicholas Sparks adaptation? Lasse Halstrom's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was bright, unconventional, interesting and romantic, and this is definitely many steps down.
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