I’m not inclined to want to see Channing Tatum hugging people (and that’s why I skipped this summer’s G.I. Joe, I tell myself), so I come to the trailer for Dear John from a fairly skeptical or inwardly sighing place. And yet I have to say, despite director Lasse Hallström only recently breaking out of movie jail with 2007’s slick, enjoyable The Hoax, and despite Dear John on the surface seeming to share much in common with his most treacly American studio output, the trailer honestly works.
Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, Dear John centers on a soldier who falls for a college student (Amanda Seyfried) from a conservative family while home on leave. I’m not totally sold on Seyfried as a romantic lead, but in movies like Fighting and Stop-Loss,
Tatum has proved his chops as an able peddler of sullen and/or swallowed charm. And I don’t
mean that as a put-down. I totally get his appeal; he comes
across as a guy’s guy, and someone that girls can fix/save/win over,
all while rubbing his pecs. Mostly, though, there’s an integrity to the quiet emoting here, as well as something not often glimpsed in movies — an honest kiss, seeded with apprehension. Ace usage of Snow Patrol’s “Set the Fire to the Third Bar” certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Sony’s Screen Gems releases Dear John on February 5, 2010.