The newest Nicholas Sparks movie, “Safe Haven,” is part of a proud legacy of romantic melodrama that includes “A Walk to Remember” and “The Notebook.” But “Safe Haven” doesn’t live up to its predecessors: this time, Sparks gives us a total dud. The emotional climax, the big reason we see Sparks’ movies, is premature and spoils the promising buildup. The rest of the movie is a largely unsuccessful attempt to jerk a few tears with a story that went limp long ago. Sparks pulls no punches in trying to make us feel something for the tragic lovers—there are scenes of visceral domestic violence and cheesy sex, and one character turns out to be a ghost. Despite its best efforts, “Safe Haven” falls flat. If you’re looking for the next “Notebook,” look elsewhere.
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