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Safe Haven (2013)

Safe... for heaving your cookies.

Overall Grade: D-
Story: F-
Acting: B
Direction: F
Visuals: B

Summary: If you absolutely must see a romantic drama, I suppose you won't be committing complete artistic and intelligence suicide by watching this film. But almost.

Full Review: You know the drill. It's date night. It's time for the little lady to pick out some romantic comedy or drama squeeze to appease the cupid-impulse that seems to be prodded back to life almost monthly by silly things like Valentine's Day, Anniversaries and birthdays. This time, she picks out the latest love story that most reminds them of some even more terrible love story from past theatre visits. "Oh no", you think to yourself, remembering back to The Notebook, "I can't be the only guy in the theatre again, with all those weeping women crooning over a sappy plot." 

But you know what? You love this woman. You aren't going to sit by and let some salute to machismo keep you from showing her that she is worth a couple of hours of humility just to be by her side. So you muster up your courage and face it like a man.

"Damn it, Jim", you think, "we're putting the engines at 110%".

So off you go, driving like mad to make the movie on time. You get there. The parking leaves you about 16 football fields away from the front entrance. You sprint ahead to get the tickets. She walks calmly to the theatre entrance. You wince ever-so-slightly as they rake you for $23.00 for two tickets. You smile and let your sweetheart go sit down in the theatre while you take another beating for a small bag of stale popcorn (that someone had stored in a garbage bag, no less) and watered-down soda. After rushing into the theatre, you realize you aren't late at all. In fact, your slight happiness turns sour after 25 minutes of previews that play after the supposed start time of your feature film.

Finally, it starts. Queue the opening scene. Abused wife running away from terrible home life. Escape to stereotypical "little-town" on the Carolina coast. Start new life. Find tall, handsome, single dad who is raising two kids- and who somehow seems to know less about kids than the beautiful, run-away wife who never had kids. The whole thing unfolds like the seeming clockwork of a widget factory from the 1950's postwar industrial machine. One shiny, predictable romance coming right up!

You enjoy the odd cutsie line, laugh at the two or three well-placed chuckles, and smile at the real love of your life sitting next to you, knowing that the agony and pain of this scriptless, thoughtless film will be over soon. Even though the romance movie was corny, you feel like you have dodged a bullet. You might even give the film a "C-" rating just because your sweetheart liked it and you didn't completely convulse through the entire film (as you did with The Notebook).

And then it happens- the most stupid, idiotic, half-baked, tag-on ending you've ever seen. Some marketing whiz who can't be bothered to write a real book or movie script thinks they will throw a "hail Mary" in to try to make this movie about something deeper, more important. But their attempt at quasi-spiritual transcendence is so inane, so inconsistent to the plot, and so unbelievable as any real art, it makes you want to tear your jacket and bite through the plastic arm of the chair that you are sitting on.

For those who don't escape seeing this movie from just plain old common sense, (or because you think that seeing "Safe Haven" will be a requirement for your love life) I have just one recommendation- leave after the appropriate people are rescued and the story seems to be happily concluded. Don't watch the last frames of this movie where the man gives his beauty a letter. It's pure BS. You've been warned.

For parents, the danger in seeing this movie is less about the offensive material they will see- though there is threatening behavior and violence- than it is about the questionability of any parent who would allow their child to see such dumb film making. Heed the movie's MPAA "PG13" rating, if for no other reason than limiting the damage to our future artisans in the next generations.


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

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