Starring: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer and Tom Welling
Directed by: Ross Katz
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 51 mins
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Lonely man making his way through life meets woman with a past. They fall in love. Something bad happens. If you’re thinking to yourself, “this sounds like something Nicolas Sparks would write,” give yourself a prize. And welcome to “The Choice.”
Travis (Walker) is apparently the world’s greatest veterinarian. Even though he lives in Wilmington, North Carolina his practice, which he shares with his father, provides enough money for him to live in a beautiful house on the water, where he barbecues on weekends when he’s not out in his cool boat. One night, during one of his barbecues, he is asked to turn the music down by Gabby (Palmer), a nurse studying for some medical exams. One thing leads to another and soon Travis and Gabby are fishing and boating and spending way too much time out in softly lit rainstorms. Things go well in the friend zone until Gabby’s wealthy M.D. fiancé’ (seriously, is there NOBODY in North Carolina that ISN’T wealthy?) has to go out of town for a month. The fact that he is played by Tom Welling means nothing to the pair and soon they have kindled a hot and heavy romance. Cue the music.
If you’re familiar with Nicolas Spark’s novels then you pretty much know what to expect going in to “The Choice.” What makes this film a notch above other cookie-cutter Sparks adaptations is a strong cast, particularly from the supporting actors. Of the three leads, Walker does the best. I enjoyed him as our 16th President in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and he credits himself here. Palmer tries to be the spunky girl but she can’t convince us that she has no interest in Travis. As for Welling…he has gotten HUGE. Too bad they’ve got Henry Cavil to play Superman because Welling looks like he could easily fill out the super-suit now. Supporting work by Tom Wilkinson, as Travis’ father, and Sharon McCormick, as their loyal receptionist, do make the film go by easier than expected. So if you “choose’ to see it with someone, let them know that it could be much worse!