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The Choice, Nicholas Sparks
The Choice

Movie: Nicholas Sparks’ “The Choice”
Reel Rating: 2 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and some thematic issues
Released in Theaters: Feb. 5, 2016
Best for Ages: 13+
Genre: Romance
Runtime: 111 minutes
Directed by: Ross Katz
Studio: Lionsgate
Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Teresa Palmer, Benjamin Walker

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer lead the cast in this formulaic Nicholas Sparks romance about a veterinarian and a medical student.

NICHOLAS SPARKS’ “THE CHOICE” – MOVIE REVIEW:

At this point, I feel like the Nicholas Sparks machine is on autopilot. Since 2008, there’s been a new Nicholas Sparks movie just about every year, with a handful of movies prior to that time, including “A Walk To Remember,” “Message In a Bottle,” and of course, “The Notebook,” which put the best-selling author on the cinematic map.

The Choice, Nicholas Sparks
The Choice

But the Nicholas Sparks formula – romance, fighting the odds, tragedy, and either a happy or sad ending – is starting to wear a little thin. Unless the movie includes a well-known star or two, you can’t rely on the story to catapult the movie into the spotlight. Such is the case with “The Choice,” which never grabs hold of you like some of the other films.

“The Choice” follows the story of a young couple on divergent paths at the beginning of the film. Travis (Benjamin Walker) is a good ol’ boy from North Carolina who loves flirting with women and partying on his boat. When Gabby (Teresa Palmer), moves in next door, romantic sparks start to fly.

Gabby is a stubborn medical student, and Travis is a veterinarian whose dog gets her dog pregnant. The two bond when she calls him over to help with the birth of the puppies.

Complicating things is the fact that Gabby already has a boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling). But when he leaves town, she and Travis have a whirlwind affair, and she’s just not sure which guy to choose. As the film moves along, there’s the inevitable tragedy, which results in difficult choices to be made.

I know there’s a big fan base for these types of romantic tearjerkers, but this one is formulaic and cliched at every turn, with superficial performances and dumb dialogue like, “Life just keeps unfolding. If you sit still, it will pass you by.”

It’s basically a bad Lifetime movie.

PARENT OVERVIEW: “The Choice” features a love story with plenty of flirting, kissing, and a scene of sexual foreplay. Women wear bikinis, and men are shown shirtless. Language includes “s–t” and “ass,” and adults drink beer. A man gets punched, and a character tells of his mom dying of cancer when he was young. There’s also a tragic incident involving a main character.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Violence/Gore: A slow-motion car crash is shown, but no blood is seen. A man is punched in the face. A veterinarian replaces a child’s dead pet lizard with a live one rather than explaining the death. Tragedy and grief are themes.

Sex/Nudity: Some flirting and passionate kissing. A man and woman have intense foreplay on a kitchen table and then in bed. Women are shown in bikinis, and men are shirtless on boats and at the beach.  A character jokes about his male dog using “protection.”

Profanity: “Ass,” “knocked up,” “s–t” and “balls.”

Drugs/Alcohol: Adults drink beer.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.

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