Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
When one of your favorite critics says something that goes against your basic judgment in a movie, it makes you wonder why you like this critic in the first place.
I assume that people have that feeling about me when I give a thumbs up for a raunchy comedy. I love those things because they make me laugh and laugh hard.
The problem might be that critics are people, too. When we go into a movie we might try to not have any preconceptions but it is difficult. Especially if the movie is a remake, a continuation of a series or based off of the writings of Nicholas Sparks.
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When I went to the screening room on a regular basis, I can tell you the room was filled with men. When it came to romantic comedies or romantic dramas, well, their eyes would roll to the back of their heads.

Why do we have to watch this piece of crap?”
Which is my sentiment exactly on most – but not all – Adam Sandler movies.
I bring this all up because the husband and I recently watched the date-night flick, Safe Haven starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. The movie started its life as a Nicholas Sparks book in which a woman leaves her old life and runs away to North Carolina where she meets a great guy and falls in love. She has a secret and he is a widower with two kids.
When I read Richard Roeper’s review several months back, he made the comment that the last ten minutes tells you a lead character is either crazy or stupid. While the rest of the movie would have received two and a half stars from him, this last portion sent his rating down, down, down. It made me curious, but because I am not a Nicholas Sparks fan I was not willing to pick up the movie for the last ten minutes.
This past weekend, I told the husband to rent something while I recovered from working a rummage sale. So he picks up this movie thinking it might be a romantic comedy. I tried to be fair, waiting for the not-so-happily-ever-after moment that seem to accompany all Nicholas Sparks movies.
When that does not happen, I am surprised. This turns out to be a nice little crime/romantic drama in the same manner of Sleeping With The Enemy without the annoying dress-up scene. But then the last ten minutes happen and I have to judge if this makes the one character a crazy person. Does it change the whole tone of the movie?
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The answer is yes because there are some questions that were not answered for me. There were some issues that needed clarification that I did not get. It doesn’t ruin the whole movie for me nor do I understand Roeper’s completely overboard reaction. Perhaps it depends on how you accept the supernatural in your life, perhaps it depends how you think this event adjusts the rules of the movie.

Every movie is based on a set of rules, the ones that determine how the world works in the story. Vampires burn up in the sun, one person rules the town with an iron fist, two people hang out in different crowds and should not mix with each other. A movie goes wrong when the rules no longer matter and no longer direct the story.
Safe Haven changes one rule at the very end of the movie. But it was a rule that was somewhat consistently followed throughout the movie, we just did not know it. Does it ruin the movie? Not in my eyes but then again I live with a ghost dog in my house. I am used to life not always being what it seems.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.