Time Out says
The Nicholas Sparks production line chugs onward, this time leavening white-bread romance with elements of the thriller. We first meet Julianne Hough running for her life, on the lam from a Boston bus terminal, but is she fleeing an unknown assailant, or is she herself a fugitive killer? David Lyons’s twitchy cop wants the answer and we keep cutting back to his investigation as the movie plods through its Sparksian business. Hough arrives in a sleepy coastal community planning to keep herself to herself, until glances are swapped over the counter at the general store, where widower and single father Josh Duhamel bides his time until he is (ahem) ready to love again…
Director Lasse Hallström (‘The Cider House Rules’), whose recent output has been forgettable, provides a bit of class by taking an age to manoeuvre this synthetic duo towards the kissing stuff (shamelessly hackneyed highlights include – no, really – a sudden rainstorm). But none of this prepares us for a final reel which descends into the Vortex of Bonkers, delivering fits of unexpected laughter. During those heavenly moments, ‘Safe Haven’ becomes a guilty pleasure, yet there’s much icky sincerity to wade through beforehand.
Cast and crew