Review: 'The Choice' follows a well-worn, cliched path

THE CHOICE: 1 HEART-SHAPED STAR

Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker), the male lead of the new Nicholas Sparks tearjerker "The Choice," only has one deck chair outside his North Carolina home.

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"A man with only one chair outside his house," we’re told, "wants to be alone."

But does he really? This is a King of Romance® Nicholas Sparks, the man with a romantic plan so the whole movie is basically a countdown to Travis and his beautiful new neighbour, medical student Gabby (Teresa Palmer) have movie sex and experience a trademarked Sparksian tragedy.

Travis is a good ol’ boy who's used to getting what he wants from women without ever falling in love. A combination of good looks and Southern charm—although some might call it Southern smarm—means that he is rarely without company.

His on-and-off girlfriend Monica (Alexandra Daddario) boomerangs in-and-out of his life but mostly he goes it alone… that is until Gabby moves in next door. She’s cramming for her medical boards while working at the local hospital side-by-side her fiancée Ryan (Tom Welling) and future father-in-law (Brett Rice). She calls Travis a walking cautionary tale and has no interest but he is smitten and everyone around them thinks they have great chemistry.

"Are you two..?" asks Travis’s father Dr. Shep (Tom Wilkinson).

"Hell no!" drawls Travis.

"Gross!" spits Gabby.

Their lips say no, but their eyes say yes. When will they kiss? When will they walk in the rain? When will the inevitable tragedy that strengthens their love happen?

"The Choice" is all about decisions, the little determinations you make along the way that may have long-term effects on your life. I'm here to help you decide if buying a ticket for "The Choice" will have any effect, good or bad, on you.

If you know Nicholas Sparks movies like "The Notebook," "The Last Song" or "Dear John," you already know what to expect. There will be "witty" repartee that, I guess, is what passes for foreplay in the Sparks universe.

The story will be tinged with tragedy and the main couple will hate one another at first. Someone will offer up old timey romantic advice like, "If you see a man sleeping on the cold floor there must be a beautiful woman nearby" and at some point something vaguely supernatural will happen. It’s a formula geared to make you well up and this movie has every Sparksism in spades.

If you enjoy being manipulated and cry easily you make (or may not) enjoy the movie. That choice is yours.



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