Once the first trailer was released for the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, Dear John, you could tell we had another sap-fest on our hands. The film stars Channing Tatum as a young soldier who falls in love with a girl (Amanda Seyfried) he meets while on leave. A lot of the early reviews for the film have been scathing, and they promptly ask Dear John to “Return to Sender”…

Just go back to our review for The Note… I mean Dear John, it seems that everyone sees it as the lesser of the same two movies…

This isn’t The Notebook:

  • What we don’t really have is an actual film but a very long music video with lots of montages of John and Savannah “moments” as they read their letters in absentia, which means neither the fans nor the foes of The Notebook are likely to be satisfied. [LATimes]

The Target Audience:

  • I can’t imagine many men who could witness its goopy trailer without rearing back in horror. And one woman I know who saw the film insists that it is not a chick flick. (She was put off by the scene in which John determines Savannah’s suitability as a girlfriend by making sure she doesn’t smoke, drink or “sleep around.”) But if it’s not a movie for women, and certainly not for men, that leaves, what, jaded projectionists? Developmentally challenged children? Horses? [MTV]

The Story:

  • Dear Nicholas Sparks, There’s no easy way to say this. But with Dear John, the latest of the five films made so far from your sentimental, best-selling novels, I think our relationship is in trouble. [NJ.com]
  • Dear John does center on a Dear John letter, but it takes a few unexpected paths. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that the film, while heartfelt and directed by multiple-Oscar nominee Lasse Hallstrom, is dramatically stillborn. The mad passion at the center of the movie raises the temperature not one degree, and all the sentimentality that surrounds the movie — an autistic child, a shy, emotionally stunted father, a wounded vet and later a character with a stroke and another with cancer — feels like so many tugs on the heartstrings. [THR]

The Acting:

  • Still, the leads do have a strong chemistry, and Seyfried brings a spunky confidence to her role. The small supporting cast is equally appealing, with Richard Jenkins and Henry Thomas doing fine work as John’s father and Savannah’s neighbor, respectively. [NYDailynews]
  • But the most convincing performance comes from veteran character actor Richard Jenkins (The Visitor). As Tatum’s mentally disabled dad, Jenkins never falters — giving a rich and tender portrayal that doesn’t hit a false note. Be prepared to have those hankies ready for one particular father-son exchange certain to make you well up. [Mercury News]

Are you still interested in seeing the film? What did you think of the movie?