I have to say, even though I tend to think Nicholas Sparks writes books that are kind of weepy and they're usually clunky when they're made into movies, I like his stuff, and I really wanted to see "Dear John" today, but since I kind of think it might be a waste of my money, I went with this movie instead (it was on cable, and thus cheaper). This movie illustrates the biggest problem with a Sparks adaptation. There are parts of the movie that flow beautifully and the cinematography is gorgeous, but then there are parts of the movie where the dialogue is clunky and bordering on ridiculous, and you feel like you're being beaten over the head with a book because the filmmakers weren't talented enough to cram it seamlessly into the rest of the movie. "A Walk to Remember" had a lot of moments like this, too. "The Notebook" was probably his most successful adaptation and the one that felt the least like an awkward English Class where students are forced to read passages from a book and they do so in a monotone because they don't like reading aloud ion front of the class.
Some of the scenes here work so well, and I can't fault Diane Lane or Richard Gere because they make the dialogue their own, and then there are times like when Richard Gere's grown son or Diane Lane's Teenage daughter are supposed to be delivering their lines and it's so horrible I wanted to gouge my ears out with a fork. These aren't bad actors, either, they did fine in other parts of the movie, it's just that when the filmmakers decided to crib directly from the book's overwrought dialogue it comes out sounbding like something a human would never say in real life. There are also times when the movie is trying to show a flashback and it feels forced and downright silly.
That's a shame, too, because otherwise this movie isn't bad. It's got some great characters, some interesting scenes, and some real emotional impact. It's too bad it keeps getting weighted down by its own script.