Nicky Sparks does it again! Only this time, it’s diff—

—oh wait, it’s exactly the same

Aaron?If you have any experience with Nicholas Sparks’ work, and have somehow not seen or read Safe Haven, simply retrace the plotlines of each and every other story of his, and you’ll match it up with his newest film adaptation of yet another of his monotonous novels.

While I have had the rather dull pleasure of reading only one of his books (The Last Song, which was made into a film star- ring Miley Cyrus), I have seen a number of his films. His most recent cinematic work is, in nearly every possible way—thematically, visually, romantically, everything—fairly identical to The Last Song, and likely most other Sparks’ stories as well.

Fleeing what appears to be a murder crime scene, our fear- ful protagonist, Katie (Julianne Hough, Rock of Ages), hops on a bus and runs off to some one-horse town to escape her past. And who do you suppose she happens upon then? Why, Alex (Josh Duhamel, Transformers), the more than moderately attractive love interest, of course.

The film changes perspective throughout, from Katie in the small Georgian town on the coast, to an investigating police officer, fervently searching for Katie’s whereabouts. The film’s use of symbolism is overwhelmingly obvious, and as all romantic (kind of comedy) movies are wont to do, its plot relies on the soundtrack to rather forcefully steer the audience’s emotion in whatever direction it pleases.

Also in traditional Sparks style, we find that Katie initially wants nothing to do with the handsome single man with two kids and a boat. Yet he tries to win her attention and when she turns him down, he tries again; needless to say, if you don’t see their love interest coming, you’re clearly not up to date on Sparks-lore.

Where the film does get interesting, is through the twist ending. Out of respect for the fans still innocently ignorant of viewing this film, I’ll leave you with only this bit of foreshadowing: Not all characters are as they seem. Ooooo, now we’re getting somewhere. Nicholas, my boy, stepping it up, perhaps?

No. He’s not. It’s still the exact same story as all his others. The only place this film differs, is that it doesn’t have Ryan Gos- ling or Liam Hemsworth; for that, I refuse to bestow any more than two and a half stars out of five for this relic of mediocrity.

STAR 2.5