Safe Haven [2013] ★★

Safe-Haven-MoviePeople crave romantic movies, be they dramatic or funny (the box-office numbers prove it) and novelist Nicholas Sparks has provided the raw material for a number of such films including “Dear John”, “The Lucky One”, and most successfully, “The Notebook”. I think it’s fair to say that moviegoers know what to expect when they see one of these adaptations: attractive people in stories that bring them together, draw them apart, and offer some form of happy ending after necessary tears are shed. That’s all true of “Safe Haven”, directed by  Lasse Hallstrom (“The Cider House Rules”, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”). Accused of first degree murder, Katie (Julianne Hough) has fled Boston by bus, with a psycho cop (David Lyons) trying to find her. She hides out in an impossibly picturesque fishing village in North Carolina, where she meets Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widower with two kids. Can you guess what happens next? Hey I won’t elaborate on the plot points. I’ll just say that I could have done without the melodramatic elements that punctuate the film and underscore its climax. But that’s part of the formula and that’s why people seem to love Sparks and his novels (I don’t). Like its two personable stars, “Safe Haven” is easy to watch, and just as easy to forget. But if you’re a sucker for romantic yarns, you’ll probably watch this one without hesitation.

Rating: 2/4

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