Safe Haven (12A/PG-13, 115 mins)
Director: Lasse Hallström
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The latest from the Nicholas Sparks production line stars Julianne Hough as a young woman, on the run for reasons unknown, who escapes on a bus and ends up in a small Carolina coastal town. Following the Sparks blueprint to the letter, we get the newcomer with a secret in a picturesque town, a love interest (Josh Duhamel’s hunky widower), golden photography and a late surge into melodrama. It’s a gentle romance populated by solid enough actors that neither raises the pulse nor truly annoys, but there’s only so many times we can swallow the same pudding. But what marks Safe Haven out from the bunch, and what could see it reinvent itself as a cult classic, is a late twist so risible that it leaves simply being bad far behind, and approaches jaw-dropping.