Michael Hoffman

'Best of Me' is ridden by romantic clichés

'Best of Me' is ridden by romantic clichés

Author Nicholas Sparks ("The Notebook," "Dear John") never met a romantic cliché he didn't gently lay down atop a bed of roses in front of an orange-glow fireplace, and Hollywood has always been there to film it.

This 15-year affair — going back to "Message in a Bottle" (and we got the message) — continues with "The Best of Me," an opposites-in-love-then-apart-then-back-and-maybe-but-no! weepie seesaw that could test even the most amenable to Sparks-ian heart-tugging.

Painted to numerical specifications by director Michael Hoffman, this one stars James Marsden as Dawson, a heroic (check), hunky (check) Louisianan oil rigger of...