To a certain kind of filmgoer—okay, a certain kind of female filmgoer—Nicholas Sparks films are cinematic comfort food.
With the exception of The Notebook—which came closest to approximating the rhythms and cadences of an actual movie—the films based on his books are bland, easy to digest, and virtually interchangeable. And what could be more comforting than that?
We have our beautiful boy and girl. We have an appealing setting (a beach house, a resort town, a funky dog kennel in the North Carolina countryside). We have a powerful attraction (rarely made believable by the script—Sparks believes that beautiful people should be together simply because they are beautiful, and who am I to argue?). We have the thing that drives them apart ™ . Then we have a little rush of action/melodrama toward the end. And finally we have our happy ending (or sad mushy ending cause occasionally the thing that drives them apart ™ is leukemia or somethin’). (Sad face.)
The actresses who appear in these films are often music stars trying to show-off their cinematic chops, like Mandy Moore and Miley Cyrus, or on-the-rise ingenues (like Rachel McAdams and Amanda...