Safe Haven (2013)

Seriously, somebody send the zombie apocalypse to Nicholas Sparks house.

Julianne Hough stars as a reclusive young woman who arrives in a small North Carolina community. She has a secret kept inside of her but soon, she gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. However, that secret of her’s comes back to cause some real, real trouble. Oh dear, I just hope they end-up together at the end! I sincerely do!

Typically, in a normal-year where everything goes smoothly (except for 2012 when we all died, right?) we usually get the privilege of taking whatever loved-one’s we have with us at the time out to either a dinner, a movie, or a combination of the both. And then, for the lucky ones especially, you go home, and you get it on with that loved-one, all to the sweet and glorious tune of Marvin Gaye. Oh, by the way, this the special day we all call “Valentine’s Day” and like this (*cough* Hallmark *cough*) holiday that only comes once a year, we also get treated to a new Nicholas Sparks adaptation that just makes the girls swoon, the men dream of what could possibly happen when they go home tonight, and the critics just want to pluck their eye-balls out with forks. Oh, what a special day for all of us indeed.

When you see a movie like this, you know what you have to be getting yourself into. A bunch of romantic fantasies posing as characters, somehow meet, fall in-love, but find the hard consequences that usually come-along with finding that special someone in your life. That’s pretty much the same-shit here, except this time, Nicholas Sparks is really stepping out of his comfort-zone. Do you know why? Because now, instead of having a sappy romance blossom, there’s actually a mystery behind one of these characters and the suspense just gets to you as you have no clue what’s going to happen next. Are they going to fall in love? Will that one person get caught? Are they going to survive? Does anybody have a life-threatening disease? Fuck, does anybody care?!?!?

Put a shirt on, Josh! Don't you have some chick named Fergie to go back to?
Put a shirt on, Josh! Don’t you have some chick named Fergie to go back to?

I get that this movie is calling-out my name and begging me to come and see it because let’s be honest: I’m 19-years-old, I’m a dude, I’m single (ladies?), I’m a movie-critic, and I hate sap. So, basically, this movie is not meant for me. However, for the crowd that it is for, I know are going to eat this shit up because it has everything they might possibly want with material like this, except even more than they can chew. Does that make it any good? Hell no! But that’s just me talking. The crowd that will probably venture-out to see it and the boyfriends that get forced by their lady-friends, will enjoy it and have no problems. But I’m not them, and that’s where this movie lost me.

Every time I see these types of movies, I always try to go into them with a bit of skepticism, but I also try to expect just a bit more and hope that it could quite possibly be the sleeper I’ve been looking for all of my life. About 20-minutes in, I knew that this movie was not one of those sleepers I have been waiting for, but at least it’s pretty. Even though director Lasse Hallstrom really seems to be on auto-pilot here and not doing anything to improve this story in the least-bit, at least he still shows that he has a flair for beautiful-scenery that fades-in the background nicely with all of the crap going on with the script and acting. Yeah, it’s a pretty gorgeous-looking movie, but you can only stare at the background so much. Eventually you got to pay attention to the story and see what the filmmaker has to offer to ya, and that’s the real pain this movie inflicts on you.

Almost anything and everything you expect to happen in one of these movies: happens. But what makes this movie worse than all of the others, is that it tries so hard to be suspenseful and tense with it’s cop-mystery subplot, but just ends up being terribly over-the-top, and outrageous. I’m glad that Sparks at least tried his darn-near hardest to give me something more to chew-on than just watching a bunch of a really good-looking people fall-in love and play with my hand-cream, but this is terrible. It’s so stupid and unintentionally hilarious, that even the people I was with started laughing at. And they were all 18/19-year-old girls, aka, the demographic for this shit. Something tells me this movie won’t be able to slide-by like all of the other failures to cinema in the past have, but I haven’t even touched base just yet. Oh no, no, no. It gets worse, my friends and family.

The movie tries so damn hard to have us tense, to have on-the-edge-of-our-seat, and to have us so surprised by what we are about to see, that it doesn’t have just one plot-twist by the end, but two. Even though I’m tempted to, I have morals and I won’t spoil the twists for you people out-there who are just quivering with excitement for thing, but let me just tell you that the first one is absurd and could almost be taken as a joke. Then again, that twist doesn’t mean jack-shit compared to the second, and final twist that this flick decides to long-dart at us with full-force. Seriously, I want to give it all away and just save you from the pain and agony of seeing this shit, but it’s bad. It’s so stupid, so insane, and so nonsensical, that I left the theater with a huge smile on my face, yucking all-over-the-place. Hey, the whole movie may have been shit, but at least I left with a wider-smile than half of the other people I saw this with. So, in the end, I guess I do win, after all.

Tip over! TIP OVER!
Tip over! TIP OVER!

Aw, who the hell am I kidding! I fucking lost, and so did Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel! I have to be honest, Hough was okay as this runaway gal that tries to find herself and find love in a new, but small town. The reason being: she’s pretty, has charm, and looks sexy as hell when she’s in her bikini. For the dudes, it’s a treat on the eyes, but then there’s Josh Duhamel to ruin everything with his non-stop, shirtless body that makes it’s own appearance about every 5-minutes. I’ve never been a fan of Duhamel, as I’ve always felt like he was just trying too hard to be cool, funny, or the guy every dude wants to be, but he just isn’t. Instead, he’s sort of a d-bag that knows he’s hot shit, and more like the type of guy you let sit at the bar, try to hit on bitties, all in hopes to get lucky by the end of the night. The difference between Duhamel and the imaginary-dude I’m talking about, is that Duhamel probably gets the bitties, whereas that dude is just left at the end of the bar, at the end of the night, and staggers home drunk and all alone. And no, I’m not talking about myself. I get all the ladies I want. So fuck you, Josh Duhamel!

Consensus: For the audience that Safe Haven has in mind, this will probably be the next best masterpiece since the days of Hanks-and-Ryan. However, if you aren’t that audience and actually want a meaty-story that you believe in and are entertained by, then just stay home, watch the Notebook, and dream of one day being the man that Ryan Gosling is and always will be. That, or just jerk-off. The choice is up to you.

1 / 10 = Crapola!!

Hmm, where I have seen this before....?
Hmm, where I have seen this before….? Hint: scroll up


  1. I would expect nothing else from a Nicholas Sparks picture. I swear, these things are some of the lamest and shoddiest conceived films out there. I mean, we’re talking Adam Sandler bad!!!

  2. What kills me is every time I see Julianne Hough (last time it was in Rock of Ages), she looks like she’s in her mid-thirties. She’s 24. My brain can’t wrap around that, especially given the convention that Hollywood wants everyone to look at least a decade younger.

    • She does look a lot older than she actually is, but what I’m more shocked by is that she’s with Ryan Seacrest! Wtf?!? What about me?!? I’m a good guy, kinda.

  3. Ugh… I really hate Nicholas Sparks adaptations. They’re so lame and so trite. Oh, I did read the spoilers and… I was offended by the plot twist. It delves into the lowest common denominator. I can’t believe ladies buy into this bullshit. If I was dragged by some lady to see this and find out about the ending. I would’ve screamed in anger. I would vent and then just dump the bitch for fucking with my head like that. Now if you excuse me, I’ll go watch a better romantic movie… Chungking Express

  4. Julianne Hough used to be a professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars. Now, she’s acting in movies and trying to be a country music star. Doesn’t look like either attempt is working out too well…

    • She’s not a terrible presence to have in movies, she’s just gotta watch what she does in fact choose. Hopefully there’s more to her than just this.

  5. I never read the book and heck I actually never read any books written by Nicholas Sparks and never seen the film adaptions of any of his books either. Not really something I would watch unless I had to for reviews.

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