Are you a fan of watching couples gaze swooningly at the moonlight, uttering lines of dialogue like, "It actually doesn't matter where you are in the world, [the moon] is never bigger than your thumb"? (Followed by the inevitable scene of our lovers, now ocean's apart, holding up their opposable digits at the moon.)
Then have I got a movie for you!
Actually, I have a series of movies for you, all adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels (see The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, et al). Sparks novels all pretty much follow the same trajectory—couple meets, couple falls in love, couple is torn horribly asunder. The asundering agent is different every time—sometimes it's death, sometimes it's family intervention, sometimes it's religion—but everything else is roughly the same.
In the case of Dear John, the thing that conspires to keep hunky John (Channing Tatum) and sunny Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) apart is 9/11. Hey, if you're going to do melodrama, why go small?
John and Savannah meet on the beaches of Charleston, SC. He's an army special forces soldier on leave; she's an idealistic college student who builds houses for Habitat for Humanity and dreams of one day opening a camp for autistic and disabled children. They fall in love, mostly because they are both quite pretty—and also because Savannah seems to have a way with John's morbidly shy father (Richard Jenkins, wasted).
There are scenes of snuggling on the beach and frolicking on the beach, and a few scenes to show what a good influence Savannah is on John, who was once a bit of a bad boy. (A persistent Sparks sub-theme: damaged men saved by the love of a good woman.) Eventually, John has to go back to the army and then 9/11 strikes. Does he stay with his squad and sign up for a second tour of duty, or go back to his one true love?
The film almost lulls you to sleep with its earnest, mopey rhythms—particularly in the scenes where Savannah and John exchange love letters (Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning they ain't). But it actually comes to life (relatively speaking) toward the very end, where a few twists save the film from being an utter snoozefest.
Still, this film is for Sparks lovers only. And they will undoubtedly give the film two thumbs (at the moonlight) up.