Alan Alda, 79, happily takes on the part of 91-year-old Ira, who recounts his romance with his deceased wife in a story that brings two unlikely lovers, played by Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson, together in The Longest Ride.
The movie has surprisingly been flailing at the box office since its opening last weekend. Even though the movie is based on a Nicolas Sparks novel and has screen legend Alan Alda on board, as well as hot newcomer Scott Eastwood, the reviews indicate that perhaps the Sparks magic may be fading.
Or perhaps even having M*A*S*H star Alan Alda in the mix can’t sugar coat the fact that this formula that Nicolas Sparks has found successful so many times before is becoming tired.
Critic Claudia Puig of USA Today probably had one of the most entertaining reviews out there. She called the movie “distinction-free” and said, “The Longest Ride slavishly follows the well-worn and soggy Sparks path.”
She admitted, “It’s an extremely successful formula. Nine previous adaptations of Sparks’ banal best sellers have netted about $800 million at the box office. But let’s not be cynical — since no one in Sparksland ever is.”
Ouch. Is the Sparks magic all gone? Well, I guess it can’t be magic when it’s been reduced to a “successful formula”.
Puig also pointed out that the featured romance “covers a predictable checklist of Sparks-isms. Gorgeous heartthrob falls for smart, cute girl. Older, often sick or feeble, characters impart sage advice. Beautiful landscapes loom large. Gauzy curtains sway as the lovebirds get tastefully amorous.”
Um, yep. That’s hard to argue with.
It’s sad to see the movie fail, because Alan Alda held such high esteem for the way his character carried emotional complexities when dealing with the loss of his wife.
Alan Alda previously said, “Ira has learned how to be the person he is partly from his life with Ruth. I think this happens to a lot of men and it certainly happened to me in my own personal life… It’s one of the reasons he misses her so much because it’s a real part of him that’s gone.”
Have you seen The Longest Ride? What did you think?