6. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, Safe Haven (2013)
Hough should have kept her moves strictly in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom, because her acting isn’t nearly as good as her dancing. Her performance in this movie causes her character Katie to be distant and unattainable, making it actual effort to become attached to her. While Duhamel’s character goes extra lengths to win her over and break her icy exterior for no apparent reason (seriously, she tore his head off because he gave her a bike), there’s nothing that would make us think the two would actually be a real couple except for the fact that they’re both really hot and in an small, utterly boring town.
5. Diane Lane and Richard Gere, Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
While their performances weren’t all that bad, there wasn’t anything particularly memorable about these two as a pair. Especially since the story has them meet and fall in love in such contrived circumstances: Two middle-aged, single adults all alone at an Outer Banks inn with a hurricane looming. How convenient. Plus, we can’t help but compare these roles to their more profound ones like Gere’s ruthless businessman in Pretty Woman and Lane’s broken but determined romantic in Under the Tuscan Sun, which, like the South American mudslide that kills Gere’s character, drowned their Nights roles into a far, far away place.
4. Robin Wright and Kevin Costner, Message in a Bottle (1999)
It’s hard to fully appreciate Wright and Costner in the film because the storyline is SO Sleepless in Seattle. Like, basically the same story. And obviously, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have our hearts forever and ever. However, since this was the first of Sparks’ film adaptations, the two have the advantage of being the most organic before common tropes like war, kissing in the rain, and disapproving parents really became trademarks of every Sparks movie known to man.
3. Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum, Dear John (2010)
Aside from the fact that the end of this story is beyond frustrating (spoiler: Seyfried and Tatum’s characters don’t even end up together), their performances were still endearing. They work as a couple because they look good together physically (hubba, hubba), and don’t overact or try to be too mushy and romantic in attempts to up the Sparks tear factor. Their chemistry is so believable that you actually anticipate when they’ll have their reunions and make sweet, sweet love between their, what feels like, never-ending letter writing.
2. Many Moore and Shane West, A Walk to Remember (2002)
If you don’t cry every time you watch Landon (West) lose his shit over Jamie’s (Moore) sickness, you may want to double check to see if you are in fact, human. Even though it’s obvious their characters will end up together, because it is in fact a Nicholas Sparks story, their performances make you think it’s truly an unlikely, yet inevitable romance. Landon is the lost rebel who isn’t the typical high school douchey jock and Jamie is the bible-hugging shy girl, who is again, slightly offbeat from your usual moody high school teen (see: Miley Cyrus). West and Moore’s characters are genuine which makes their journey and love so. damn. believable. Someone pass me a tissue.
1. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, The Notebook (2004)
Obviously. McAdams and Gosling’s Allie and Noah should be deemed the greatest on-screen couple ever. Is that aggressive? Don’t even care; their performances are perfection – we see their connection from from a budding romance to endless love and what makes them stand apart from the rest is their physical and mental transformation from teenagers to adults. It may be the only Sparks film to date that dudes aren’t completely ashamed of actually liking (“Uh, yeah, it’s okay I guess…”) and there’s a reason. McAdams and Gosling aren’t the least bit corny not to mention Gosling is a damn MAN. I mean, writing letters just doesn’t cut it for him, he builds a whole damn house. Allie and Noah forever.
[Photo Credit: New Line Cinema/Walt Disney Studios/Warner Bros./Relativity Media/Screen Gems]