Scott Eastwood is finally riding into theaters Friday in his silver-screen debut, The Longest Ride. The latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation will give viewers everything they expect: a troubled road to romance and two very good-looking people. But is it worth the ticket price? Here is what the critics have to say about the latest book-turned-movie.
Most critics agree that you're getting what you pay for when you sign up to see a Sparks movie, but what makes this movie stand out from the rest of his films (Dear John, The Last Song, etc.) is the up-and-coming cast. Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson star in the latest romantic installment, and Scott Foundas of Variety says that they're pretty much the only redeeming quality.
"Appealing performances by a trio of second- and third-generation Hollywood kids keep this three-hankie twaddle more bearable than it deserves, but Ride will surely go the longest with audiences for whom this is not their first Sparks rodeo," Foundas writes, adding that Eastwood's godly like body will also provide some serious eye candy.
"But most of the movie's target demo is sure to be too busy swooning over Eastwood's bared abs to even notice."
The Wrap's Alonso Duralde also notes that the movie as a whole "can barely compete with the camera's obsessive adoration of Clint [Eastwood's] son."
He adds, "The real love story in The Longest Ride is between Eastwood and David Tattersall's camera, which spends so much time leering over the actor's cheekbones, abs and other attributes that you begin to wonder if someone's going to call Human Resources. With that much objectification going on, Robertson is left standing to the side waiting for some attention from either her co-star or her cinematographer."
As for the movie's plot, Duralde summarizes, "Overall, The Longest Ride feels cloying and contrived; the only time it's unpredictable is when the plot takes a turn so utterly unbelievable that, admittedly, no one would see it coming."
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter agrees with the other critics, noting the movie's calculated formula is all-too-familiar at this point, but gives the surprise ending more credit than Duralde. He writes, "The settings and compositions are picture-postcard, the score syrupy, the bull-riding coverage not entirely convincing, the sentiments cliched and reassuring. But, boy oh boy, the ending! In Sparks' world, when happiness rains, it pours."
Betsey Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times eviscerated the movie, writing that its pretty scenes and cast "do not make a movie."
"Even with all The Longest Ride's shots of the eye candy that is Scott Eastwood, Nicholas Sparks' latest romance to make its tissue-sodden way to the big screen is a wash. A long one," she writes.
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