I am a hopeless romantic. I can’t help it. Put a cheesy love story in front of me, and I’ll likely melt a little bit. That means I’m sort of a sucker for Nicholas Sparks’ movies. I’ve seen them all, but one thing I noticed is that they never do well on a second viewing. All the lovey-dovey tragedy that made me swoon at first has me rolling my eyes at the screen (and at myself) for being so ridiculous and emotionally manipulative.
That same cycle seemed to have happened once again with The Longest Ride, the latest Nicholas Sparks romance to hit the big screen. This one stars Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood as two opposites who fall in love despite envisioning different futures for themselves. It’s never just a spring fling in a Sparks romance.
After being burnt on the past five movies, I didn’t hold much hope for The Longest Ride. From the trailers, it looked like nothing new, but I was initially a bit surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. I owe it to my insanely low expectations and Scott Eastwood’s STELLAR good looks. If I were to rank these movies based on the attractiveness of the movie’s leads, this would be up top. (Sorry, Ryan Gosling.)
The Longest Ride is probably one of the least emotionally manipulative movies from Nicholas Sparks, which isn’t saying much. Nothing terribly tragic happens, and we don’t get blindsided by a big devastating twist. In fact, the movie’s twist is a pretty happy one, not all that imaginative, but at least it didn’t force tears to come out of your eyes.
On the second viewing, I had a tiny bit of hope I’d enjoy it equally, but alas, The Longest Ride at over two hours long is made for one viewing. The movie’s sluggish pace is more apparent as is how jarring the flashbacks are placed throughout the film. The flashback story is barely interesting, and I wish Britt Robertson’s character was given more depth than “ambitious young creative woman.” The chemistry falters between the leads and even Scott Eastwood’s beautiful face can’t keep you that interested a second time around.
The Longest Ride helped me realize that Nicholas Sparks is the tissue box of Hollywood. You use it once and then throw it away. Use it more than once and it’s messier, gross and has you wondering why you keep using the same tissue. That’s it. I’m done with this tissue box.
The Longest Ride is now playing in theaters.