Reel Views: A Safe Haven for your heart

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Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough in Safe Haven.

Safe Haven (2013)

Girls, get your Kleenex boxes ready and be prepared to have your heart broken into a thousand little pieces and then beautifully pieced back together. Guys, get ready to think about sports and cars for the next couple of hours while holding your girlfriend's hand and racking up some serious brownie points. That's right, there is a new Nicholas Sparks film on the big screens now.

Safe Haven is the latest in a long line of Nicholas Sparks film adaptations — think The Notebook, The Last Song and The Lucky One — that is sure to have women everywhere tearing up for the duration. From director Lasse Hallstrm (whose previous tearjerkers include The Cider House Rules and Chocolat) comes Safe Haven, which tells the story of Katie, a woman who has moved to a small town in North Carolina and changed her name, all in an attempt to escape the wrath of her abusive husband. Katie eventually meets Alex, a widower with two young children, and, as tends to happen in Nicholas Sparks flicks, the two inevitably fall head over heels in love with one another. There is, of course, the reappearance of Katie's past and her secrets coming to the surface at the worst possible times, however keep in mind that it is a Sparks movie so you can probably guess how it ends.

Safe Haven is officially ushering in two of the newest (and sexiest) faces in the current romantic comedy generation: Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough as Alex and Katie. Duhamel is best known for his action-heavy performances in the Transformers movies, but in Safe Haven he proves that he has what it takes to be a real romantic actor. With just the right flair for the job, Duhamel is sure to get more than a few hearts fluttering in the audience. Likewise, Hough, who has made the transition from professional dancer to professional actor with relative ease, shows us that she can in fact perform as an actor even if she is not required to dance.

Alongside the two romantic leads are Cobie Smulders as Katie's neighbour Jo and Australian actor David Lyons as Katie's nasty ex-husband Kevin. Smulders is as darling as ever, though perhaps not quite as funny as she is on TV's How I Met Your Mother, and she just adds that little something extra to the feel of the film. Lyons, on the other hand, plays the villain with ease, bringing a meanness to his character that is sure to have you falling even harder for Duhamel in the end.

Safe Haven was exactly what one would expect when buying a ticket to see a Nicholas Sparks movie. Sometimes, though, expectation is a good thing. If you want to see a romance movie knowing exactly how it will play out, then Safe Haven is for you. For a Nicholas Sparks movie, it was right on the mark!

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5