Monday, March 11, 2013

Safe Haven - A Review

If I've said it once, I'll say it again...

I'm not the romance type.  I am, however, an action/horror junkie.

When I saw the preview for the movie 'Safe Haven', I have to admit, I was attracted to the story line (an abused woman, played by the uber sexy Julianne Hough, flees her explosive marriage and hides out in a sleepy east coast beach town, but is still haunted by the life she left behind and the inevitable discovery by the man who's chasing her) and I decided I'd give Nicholas Sparks a chance.

Mind you, the only Nicholas Sparks movie I've see is 'Dear John' and I was suckered into that one for the military-brat undertone that turned out to be more of a what I would call a punchline than a key plot point.  I've never seen 'The Notebook', 'The Lucky One', 'Nights in Rodanthe', or 'The Last Song'.  Those aren't my kinds of movies.  They're not my thing even though I have a deep-seeded love for cinematic adventures.

For those of you who've read Evol, you'll know why I was drawn to the 'hide-and-seek' story line of 'Safe Haven'.  Although I hated myself a little for doing it, I paid admission to see the latest Nicholas Sparks installment just last night.

On a side note, something I frequently get flack for going to the movies stag, which is what I did last night.  I have a number of points to add to my side of the argument.  First of all, my husband is one of the hardest people to go to the movie with because he's really picky and doesn't share my affinity for the hobby; he'll only see certain movies where as I'll see practically anything.  Secondly, he's usually the one watching my son for me while I go.  The movie theater in my town only shows one movie a week and plays one time a day.  Sunday nights are ideal for me to sneak a flick into my agenda, especially since 'The Walking Dead' has an encore in case I miss the first airing of the new episode.  Thirdly, movies are a horrible 'date' activity.  You can't talk to the person you're with.  Fourth point, I'm not ashamed.  To all you stag movie-goers out there, stand up and be proud of your solitude.  Sometimes, going to the movies is the only 'me' time I get so I relish in it.

Ok, back to 'Safe Haven'.  Being the movie aficionado that I am, not much can get by me and this happens to be one of the reasons my husbands doesn't enjoy going to movies with me.  I figure it out.  I'll lean over and whisper sweet-nothings to him and give away too much of the movie and it annoys him.  I can't help it.  It's in my nature.  If I come to the realization that the victim is actually the killer or that the flashback of the teddy bear signals to me that the little boy is the next target, I have to share it.  I can't keep those kinds of epiphanies to myself.  I figured out a great deal of 'Safe Haven' from the get go, though Mr. Sparks tries valiantly to veil the truth from the audience (to be honest, the trailer itself gives away a lot if you pay attention so I walked into the theater already knowing one of the movie's secrets).  

Though the movie starts out with Hough's escape and an obsessed detective's near capture of her, setting a rapid pulse to the story, it quickly lulls when Hough meets the reluctant hero of the movie, Alex, played by the steamy Josh Duhamel.  Hough uses a charter bus as her escape route and when it stops just outside Duhamel's rinky-dink shore side market, she falls in love with the scenic and quiet town, and decides to make shelter there; all very 'Sleeping with the Enemy'.

So the movie goes on with Hough finding a job at a seafood restaurant, her and Duhamel tip-toeing around their growing attraction like virtuous teenagers, and the detective's struggle to locate the missing Hough.  The excitement of the detective's fieldwork and his seeming disregard for police procedure was enough to keep me in to the movie, but the nauseating flirtations by the two gorgeous main characters drug me down.

I will admit to anyone who asks, there were two parts of the movie that choked me up a bit, though no tears were actually shed.  I don't want to spoil the movie, so not to give anything away all I will say is it was the cards that got me and the meaning behind them.  Very sad and heart-wrenching.

What disappointed me the most in the movie was the anti-climactic ending, which culminated with a physical struggle between Hough and her past.  Again, it's hard to say too much without giving anything away.  The action junkie in me wanted to see so much more with that ending.  Sure the mushy love stuff was cute, but it got old quick.

Like I'm trying to teach my son, try everything once.  I can at least say I'm still giving chick-flicks a chance.  None have yet to win me over.  If you like Nicholas Sparks movies or books, I'm sure you'd enjoy this movie.  If you're like me and would rather see wicked impressive chase scenes and explosions with random fire-fights and hand-to-hand combat, maybe a few blood sprays here and there, stay away from this one.

- Jess

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