There are a lot of romance movies, a lot of romantic comedies, a lot of so called "chick flicks" that dabble in that sort of thing. Most of them either try too hard or don't try hard enough, miss the point, confuse sex with love or love with sex or commit the cardinal sin of romantic films: leave you wondering what the two lovers ever saw in each other in the first place.
Now comes "Safe Haven", the latest movie based on a book by popular romantic writer Nicholas Sparks. Mysterious Katie (Julianne Hough) is on the run from a dark past when she arrives in a small seaside North Carolina town and runs into widower Alex (Josh Duhamel), who runs the local grocery store.
He's attracted, she's wary, but their developing relationship is a joy to watch. It's humorous, natural and believable and, perhaps most importantly, very romantic which, when you get down to it, is the whole point of a movie like this.
Of course, there are always complications in a love story and here they take the form of that mysterious past of Katie's catching up with her. Of course, he's got a past that haunts him, too. He's also got two small children and one of them is not happy at all that someone might be on the verge of taking the place of their Mom.
Katie's past ends up providing a nice dose of suspense with a pinch of excitement, while Alex's adds just a smidgen of sentiment. There's also a dash of something more, but I don't want to give away the entire recipe.
Just the right ingredients for an enjoyable romantic night at the movies.
Rating: 3 stars
By Jonathan Mumm, firstname.lastname@example.org