By Jeff Labrecque
Updated September 16, 2014 at 08:32 PM EDT

If there’s no official rule against James Marsden landing the girl in his movies, it sometimes seems like there is a conspiracy against him. The Notebook. Enchanted. Superman Returns. He’s always getting left standing, as the odd man out. He even got squeezed out of the X-Men films, and one of the rare occurrences where he actually ended up with the girl was 30 Rock, where he ended up with a Lemon. Clearly, he’s just not good-looking enough.

Well, it seems like he’s finally going to catch a break—in a Nicholas Sparks film, no less!

In The Best of Me, out Oct. 17, Marsden and Michelle Monaghan play high-school sweethearts—from different sides of the track, natch—who reconnect 21 years after being ripped apart in high school. In this exclusive clip, the two tentatively try to make up for lost time.

Here’s the film’s trailer: