It’s very easy to make fun of Nicholas Sparks adaptations. The combination of small town Americana with often absurd romantic melodrama brings out the cynic in most of us, and even The Notebook has its very strong detractors. But given that we are regularly inundated with bromantic gross-out comedies and poor sex jokes, I think we can all make a tiny place, every once in awhile, for some maudlin sentimentality.
The latest Sparks adaptation to hit the big screen is The Best of Me, starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as former high school sweethearts who come back together for the funeral of an old friend. All the requisite boxes are checked in the first trailer for the film: small town shaded in pastels, romantic kiss in the water, a love that never dies despite lovers being separated by many years, and the dangerous forces that tore our beautiful lovers apart. There are no big surprises here, but then there rarely are in these types of films.
Marsden and Monaghan are the biggest draws on this one, and it’s nice to see both of them in leading roles. I’ve personally always enjoyed Marsden, who regularly plays up his classic good looks for comic effect. The couple’s past selves are played by relative newcomers Luke Bracey (also signed on for the remake of Point Break) and Liana Liberato, both of whom look just a bit too old to be the high school students they’re supposed to be.
The Best of Me looks like pretty much every Nicholas Sparks adaptation to date, which should be just fine with fans of the genre. It’s predictable and pretty and guaranteed to be inoffensive.
You can watch the first trailer for The Best of Me below, in all its sentimental glory. Then, check out the film when it hits theatres on October 17.