Josh Duhamel, who never met a romantic comedy or seasonally-themed Garry Marshall ensemble film he didn’t love, is an obvious choice to play the male lead in a Nicholas Sparks film. Indeed, the only thing surprising about Duhamel’s appearance in Safe Haven is the fact that he hadn’t appeared in a Sparks film sooner.
He got in just under the wire, too, because despite his boyish good looks, Duhamel is 40. And—awkward alert!—his costar in this film, Julianne Hough, is 24. Slightly gross, but hey, at least they look pretty together.
Safe Haven is your standard Sparks fare, with a few tiny twists. We have the girl with a troubled past. We have the sleepy beach resort town. We have the hot guy who takes his shirt off a lot. We have the two of them falling in love, montage style. We have the unspoken thing that threatens to tear them asunder.
In this case, that unspoken thing is a possible murder. As the film starts Katie (Hough) is fleeing the scene of a crime, with what appears to be blood on her hands. She cuts off her dark hair and even finds time to give it beautiful golden highlights. Then she dons a hoodie and hops onto a bus.
The cops, particularly the...