Are you ready for a legendary love story to warm the cockles of your
heart on Valentine's Day? Would you settle for Safe
Julianne Hough stars as Katie - a woman on the run from the law! Katie
was involved in something horrible back home in Boston, and she decided
getting out of town was the best, and only choice (because you don't
want to end up in the joint when you look as pretty as Julianne Hough).
Now, she anonymously has settled down in a small little Outer Banks
town in North Carolina, and the hunky widower who runs the local shop,
Alex (Josh Duhamel), has started making eyes at her, and she's making
eyes at him, too (because, they look like Julianne Hough and Josh
Of course, it is only a matter of time until the past comes back to
haunt Katie and her new life.
What did Katie do?
Will she be found?
I was almost ready to give Safe
Haven a pass until it involved
one of the most ludicrous twists I have ever seen in a movie. It's so
horrible, I wish I could stand out in front of cineplexes (cineplexi?)
across the country yelling what it was at the top of my lungs to save
you from the pain and shock. Instead, I have to deduct 1 Waffle because
it is the only power I have (unless those magic beans I bought from
that dude at the train station turn out to be something special).
Directed by Lasse "I fear he owes money to many overseas bookies
threatening to break his knee caps" Hallstrom (why else would he do Safe
Haven?) and written by Leslie
Bohem and Dana Stevens, this is another adaption of a Nicholas Sparks
book, and you couldn't miss the formula if you closed your eyes and put
your iPod on max volume.
Have you seen Dear John?
The Last Song?
The Lucky One?
Then, you have seen Safe Haven,
because many of the same elements are present like they are in all work
from Sparks, but not in the comforting, fond way you might like your
familiarity. This is the bad familiarity, the one that brings dread as
you sit in the movie theater and realize you should have bought tickets
to Side Effects
We have the celebration of good, honest small town America where
everyone is super nice, kisses occur in the rain, all surroundings are
picturesque lakes and creeks and oceans straight out of a painting, and
true love can conquer all (especially if you look like Josh Duhamel and
Julianne Hough). Sure, it is nauseating pabulum, but the movie is
pleasant enough when going through the motions.
Duhamel is a charming leading man. He does have an ease about him and
the ability to convey warmth even when the leading lady has no
chemistry with him. However, Hough is out of her league.
She is fine enough as the pleasant pretty girl, but serious drama and
emotion fail her. Where's the depth that matches those deep blue eyes?
Oh. Right. Having the deep blue eyes seems to be more important than
having acting depth.
drags in the middle, and you have to swallow some big holes in common
sense like the police have a wanted poster of Katie on their wall for
what feels like weeks, but no one recognizes her as that new girl they
see every single day at their favorite restaurant hanging out with
their best pal Alex!
Plus, our bad guy is simplistically, super overly bad and over the top.
He laughably chews up the scenery in the most annoying way possible,
which leads to an outlandish climactic scene that would damage your
opinion of Safe Haven
if you hadn't given up already.
I was willing to go 2 Waffles on this one, but that big twist is beyond
unacceptable and enters into legendary, Gigli-level
incredulity. What makes it even worse is that it isn't necessary and
doesn't add anything to the movie.
Haven is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving threatening
behavior, and for violence and sexuality.