Men, watch out! Nicholas Sparks is back yet again, waiting to make two hours of your life a living hell. Yes, Dear John arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 25, and with it comes more sappy melodrama designed to suck your soul dry. Even your woman may not find much to enjoy, though that's likely asking a lot of her taste in movies.
Dear John is about a soldier (Channing Tatum) on leave from Iraq (or Afghanistan - who cares) who hooks up with a beautiful young college student (Amanda Seyfried). She has an interest in autistic boys and he has an autistic father, so naturally they hit it off well, falling in love over the summer before he has to head back to war. Once separated, they stay connected by writing letters to one another, because that's so much more convenient and timely than email.
The movie is an adequately acted drama, though neither Tatum nor Seyfried have to try very hard to deliver the material given to them. Regardless of their individual talent, they don't have much on-screen chemistry with one another. Compared to Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook, the movie lacks the romantic sizzle that helped that romantic "classic" overcome its shortcomings.
The first half of Dear John is actually decent, as it progresses like most romantic dramas do: the characters meet, fall in love and develop as a couple. The movie is littered with cheesy, forced dialogue, but none of it is particularly distracting. Unfortunately, as soon as John returns to war, the movie falls apart at the seams. Without Tatum and Seyfried sharing screen time, the movie just doesn't work; it loses its focus, going so far as to end in a way that won't even satisfy the female sex.
Dear John is another forgettable romantic drama from author Nicholas Sparks. It relies too heavily on a formula that just doesn't work on the big screen and a forced chemistry that, while not disastrous, fails to inspire. It's a drama without drama, a romance with romance, and there's just not much fun in that.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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