Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

cheek by jowl

Dear John vs. Dear John: How to Tell the Channing Tatum Romance From the Judd Hirsch Sitcom

Wait, which one is the brooding hunk?

When the new Nicholas Sparks adaptation Dear John opens today, confusion will reign across the land. Many fans of The Notebook will head to YouTube to watch a trailer, only to be confused as to when Sparks switched from writing about young buff love to focusing on schlubby middle-aged divorcés. Meanwhile, another contingent will excitedly rush to the theater, buy a $10 ticket, and be infuriated to find a lot of weepy romance when they were hoping for a big-screen reboot of the late-eighties NBC sitcom. How to prevent the anarchy and disappointment that will surely result in this duplicated title? Hopefully this chart will help.

  Dear John, the Movie Dear John, the TV Show
Plot Beautiful young couple meet, fall in love, and sustain their affair through syrupy, romantic letters while John is serving in the army overseas. John Lacey gets a “Dear John” letter from his wife. Depressed and alone, John joins an aptly named support group, the “One-to-One” club.
Source Material Okay novel of the same name. U.K. sitcom of the same name.
Leading Man Hunky superstar Channing Tatum. Schlumpy everyman Judd Hirsch.
Target Audience Tweens who want to see Channing wearing nothing but board shorts. People who were too lazy to change the channel after Cheers.
Soul Mate Savannah, played by the flaxen-haired Amanda Seyfried. None, but John did have a wingman in Kirk, the would-be lady-killer played by the flaxen-haired Jere Burns.
Atmospheric Touches Sweeping rainstorms. Robust laugh track.
Will Make You Wonder Can love stand the test of time, distance, and tragedy? Is that Judd Hirsch’s real hair?
Lines That Will Make You Swoon and/or Cringe “Two weeks … that’s all it took for me to fall for you … ” “KIRK!”
For Fans Of ... The Notebook, The Lake House, Bridges of Madison County. Shawl-collared sweaters, Neil Simon plays, Lipitor.
Facebook Fans 887,175 39
Best to Watch When You’re out on a date. One of your divorced parents is visiting.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures, Paramount Television