Friday, February 5, 2016

The Choice Movie Review

Teresa Palmer & Benjamin Walker (r) star in The Choice

Not the Best Choice
by Haylee Grey Pearson (Contributing Editor)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the film adaptation of Nicolas Sparks’ bestselling novel, The Choice.

A good ole country boy, Travis (Benjamin Walker) is the easy going Southern bachelor. He loves his dog, his boat, and his beer. Travis has a shallow perception of life, God, and commitment... which of course is tested by Gabby, his irksome new neighbor. Charleston elite Gabby (Teresa Palmer) is a well-educated medical resident at the local Wilmington hospital. She’s stubborn, complicated and doesn't like Travis: The feeling is mutual. Gabby’s a stick in the mud, and Travis is a man child.

You would think nothing could ever bring together two people so opposite! Insert all of Nicholas Sparks’ favorite clich├ęs here: A natural disaster, a superficial discussion about God, a love triangle (everyone’s favorite) and a dead relative who's shaken the core of a character’s human empathy... and you have yourself the makings of a love story.

The overall plot (not to mention, the chemistry between Gabby & Travis) was a bit underwhelming; although director Ross Katz (Taking Chance, Adult Beginners) was able to master the beauty of coastal living. The first 20 minutes is staged as if they were trying to sell a timeshare in Wilmington. I'd love to live in a world, where boats are a reliable form of transportation and waterfront property can be financed working just three days a week. Cheers, to author trademarks!

Katz's The Choice follows the same linear plot line we've all come to love and expect from Nicholas Sparks; and while it’s not a bad movie, it’s not an exceptional one either. It won’t earn a standing ovation or win any awards... other than the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.

If you can compromise your jaded view of love, and temporarily suspend disbelief, The Choice is enjoyable and cute (to say the least.) Travis and Gabby, the main love interests, are likable but fairly pedestrian. The true entertainment comes from the supporting characters. Maggie Grace (LostTaken) plays Travis’ sister, Steph, whose laborious task of being the voice of reason is more refreshing than pompous. She's sweet, while applying basic logic to the film's most trying problems. A healthy dose of comedy comes from Sharon Blackwood (Magic Mike XXL) who plays Cora, the inquisitive, Southern receptionist with a raised eyebrow and thick accent, making every word definitive and hilarious.

Omitting spoilers, you can expect to laugh-out-loud and cry, with limited shame. Having a degree of sappiness, it’s not the worst movie to punish your boyfriend with. It’s perfect for a night in, with a bottle of wine, or as background noise while doing your laundry. Once it’s over, it’s over: All ends tied, and all questions answered.

Grade: C+