Review of “The Choice”: Nicholas Sparks made an interminable weepie — and we watched it so you don’t have to. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
Life, as the Nicholas Sparks weepie “The Choice” keeps telling us, is all about choices, and the film did indeed cause me to ponder mine. (Why did I go to this screening? Why didn’t I study engineering in college? Why did I choose today of all days to cut down on popcorn?) And if you go, you’ll have plenty of time to ponder yours, too, because this movie is endless. A good-looking couple named Travis (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby (Teresa Palmer) meet cute in a picturesque North Carolina town and spend the entirety of human existence — oh, sorry, maybe an hour — in perky courtship. They get married, and then something awful happens. Because this is a Nicholas Sparks movie, you can guess the rest.
There might, perhaps, be a spark of chemistry in this couple, but it’s hard to tell, as they won’t stop blathering gooily about choices and decisions and “I believe in the moon” (well, why not?). Meanwhile, you’ll be trying desperately to find a more interesting movie hidden within this one; perhaps in the odd fact that Travis’ ex-girlfriend and his sister look uncannily alike, or that poor Tom Wilkinson, as a genial pastor/veterinarian/widower, always seems to be looking for a convenient exit. Perhaps he was regretting his choices.
As the actors stumble through such dialogue as “She told me that her head was hurting her heart” (I’m not at all sure what that means, but it made my head hurt), “The Choice” moves inexorably to its inevitable tear-jerky end. Consider your multiplex choices carefully as Valentine’s Day approaches; you might find yourself weeping tears of relief when the credits finally roll.
Movie Review ★½
‘The Choice,’ with Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Alexandra Daddario, Tom Welling, Brett Rice, Tom Wilkinson. Directed by Ross Katz, from a screenplay by Brian Sipe, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some thematic issues. Several theaters.