2.5/4

The Longest Ride [2015] ★★½

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Based on yet another novel by Nicholas Sparks. I thought you should know that before you cringe and stop reading. But truth be told, “The Longest Ride” is better than most Sparks movies. Yes, it follows the same old formula we’ve come to expect from Mr. Sparks (“The Lucky One”, “Dear John”, “The Best of Me”…), but there’s something likable about the characters in his latest movie. That would be Luke (Scott Eastwood, son of the legendary Clint Eastwood), who plays a Rodeo champ in North Carolina, and Sophia (Britt Robertson), the woman he falls in love with. But that’s not all. One night, they save an old man from a car wreck (well played by Alan Alda). As Sophia helps him recuperate, he tells her the story of his long, happy marriage to his now deceased wife, Ruth (played by Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin). Because the story doesn’t follow a chronological order, director George Tillman hopscotches back and forth through two separate time periods, as we learn more and more about the old man’s life. I won’t elaborate more on the plot points. I’ll just say that it could have been worse (see “The Last Song”). Like its two personable stars, “The Longest Ride” is easy to watch, and just as easy to digest. So basically if you’re a sucker for romantic yarns, it’s an agreeable-enough piece of escapism.

Rating: 2.5/4

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