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Review: 'Dear John' lacks emotional strength

Entertainment reporter George Pennacchio says 'Dear John' lacks that big emotional connection you want in a love story.

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
February 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Love is the big theme in "Dear John." But will you love this latest film based on a Nicholas Sparks romantic novel? Entertainment reporter George Pennacchio says the movie isn't anything to write home about.In "Dear John," Channing Tatum plays a guy home on military leave. He meets and falls in love with a young woman played by Amanda Seyfried. The feeling is mutual.

But then reality sets in when he has to leave to serve more time in the Army.

To say this movie is romantic is an understatement, but even romance can get tired.

"Dear John" moves a little too slowly for me and I think you'll feel that. The story, at times, has a "junior high" feel to it.

As the leading man, Channing Tatum exudes charisma in a quiet, mostly calm, loving manner.

He does a really good job at not over-playing this role. You believe him even in moments that could seem melodramatic.

Amanda Seyfried displays a warmth and kindness the character needs -- especially because of how the plot plays out.

The thing I like least about this movie: there is far too much music. I don't like feeling like someone's trying to sell me a soundtrack while I'm trying to watch a movie, and the instrumental stuff is just too much.

"I'm smart enough to know how to feel without the help of a piano. The music kept taking me out of the movie.

"Dear John" is directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who also made the great romance, "Chocolat." Hallstrom sets his scenes well and they're shot beautifully. Richard Jenkins turns in a fine performance as Tatum's father.

In the end, I think "Dear John" lacks that big emotional connection you want in a love story. I just wasn't feeling it.