Nevertheless, with this as its central conflict, "The Longest Ride" devolves into an unintentional chuckle-fest where miscast actors and under-written characters bump uglies with blatantly contrived "romantic complications" that wouldn't even past muster on "The Young and the Restless"--a soap opera where a determined gal once impregnated herself with a gentleman's stolen sperm only to discover, nine months later, that she had swiped the wrong sperm and instead of having mega-tycoon Victor Newman's baby, as she intended, she birthed his arch-rival Jack Abbott's tot instead. D'oh!
Now, if you experienced whiplash at the end of Nicholas Sparks' movie "Safe Haven", gird your loins, because "The Longest Ride" has a dilly of an ending, too. Needless to say, it involves the death of a beloved old codger (guess who!); the showing of a personal art collection at an invitation-only event; Sophia being hired to help organize the wing-ding; and Luke unexpectedly showing up and buying a picture called "A Portrait of Ruth"--which was painted by David, the child Ira and Ruth had tried to adopt while he was stuck in a group home. How did Ira become the owner of this painting? Well, David's wife gives it to Ira many years later when she read about Ruth's passing in the newspaper. Turns out David never forgot Ruth or that she told him "he could be anything he wanted to be"--so he grew up and became a physics professor and lectured in England. That's how Ira came into possession of "A Portrait of Ruth".
But, wait, there's still more: by purchasing "A Portrait of Ruth", Luke is given the entire collection which was owned by Ira and Ruth and which includes pieces by Monet, Renoir, Andy Warhol, guys like that. How is Luke allowed to do this? Because Ira's will stipulated that the person who bought "A Portrait of Ruth" would get the whole kit and caboodle because they would understand a young child's picture of his beloved late wife just as valuable--perhaps even more so-- anything from a grand master. And because Luke is now the owner of an art collection worth zillions, well, he can sell one of pieces he doesn't like and save the family farm! Oh, I did I forget to mention that Luke's family is in need of being saved? It is, which is why Luke keeps on bull riding, despite his injuries, so he can save the family farm.
With family farm saved, we next see the reunited Luke and Sophia, they are doing the ultimate Nicholas Sparksian thing, which is swimming in their underwear. All's well that ends well, wouldn't you say?
Not quite. See, while watching "The Longest Ride", I couldn't help thinking that Nicholas Sparks was having trouble pulling this one off. Frankly, you know a movie is in trouble when the smitten kittens are forced to play a "sexy" scene where she hops on his practice bull and he, um, "rocks" it back and forth to simulate the motion of a bucking bronco while you know damn well this is meant to be a precursor to their upcoming sex scene. You also know your movie is in trouble when the cranky old person is played by Alan Alda, the ultimate '70's sensitive guy. Alda is a fine actor, but he's about as cranky as Mr. B Natural. Robertson and Eastwood are attractive people, but as actors they have no chemistry. It's also interesting to note that "The Longest Ride" may be one of the few movies in recent history where the male half of the equation is treated more as eye candy than the female half. Scott Eastwood is more than up to the challenge of playing a hunky guy, but I'm sure he has greater aspirations for himself than just being scenery.
Therefore, if you choose to partake of "The Longest Ride", don't blame me if you end of saddle sore.
So, until next time, remember that art is a subjective matter, and help me SAVE THE MOVIES!