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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie Reviews: Return to sender

    “”Dear John”” is not the romantic movie advertised. It is not that it suffers from having the cliché romance as might be expected. Rather, it suffers from having no romance at all.

    “”Dear John”” tells the story of John (Channing Tatum), a man who is stoic and charming. The audience knows this because he is in the Army and he smiles a lot. John falls in love with Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), a woman who is presumptuous and self-important. The two meet on the beach because John is a stud and dives into the water to get Savannah’s purse. Then they fall in love.

    Instead of the usual romantic tropes such as flirting and kissing, the first third of the film follows John hanging out with his father, a strange man who spends all day looking at coins, and Tim, Savannah’s friend who has an autistic child. To the movie’s credit, these interactions are handled tastefully and are well-acted. Tatum is surprisingly charming, while Richard Jenkins, who plays his father, acts as though he’s in a movie much better than this one. The scenes in which these three actors interact are the best of the film.

    However, every time Savannah appears, the movie reverts to utter disaster. Not only does Seyfried look like she’s on Quaaludes the entire movie, but the movie is completely unwatchable any time the two leads are “”falling in love,”” because there is no catalyst for them to fall in love. They don’t talk about anything. They wander aimlessly on the beach and share small talk, which appears to be what passes for romance these days.

    However, their love is foiled by John’s position in Special Forces. He returns to Germany and the two write a ton of letters that are presented in montage scenes. It’s like Michael Bay directed a love story but had a frontal lobotomy beforehand.

    I’m not going to spoil the rest of the movie for those stubborn enough to watch “”Dear John,”” but please heed this warning: the only emotionally involving scenes are between John and his dad. If you’re on a date, this is not the romantic movie that is going to incite passionate lovemaking. It will make the rest of the date really awkward. Even the obligatory sex scene is about as sensual as a high school health class video.

    It isn’t much of a surprise that “”Dear John”” is a bad movie, but it is a surprise that it isn’t a romantic one.

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