Time was when critics might have called a movie like Dear John "schmaltzy," referring to the Yiddish term for the sickly sweet chicken fat that Jewish families once slathered on rye bread. An acquired taste was necessary to appreciate it. Apparently it has not been acquired by today's critics who appear to have had a collective case of indigestion over Dear John . Indeed, Lou Lumenick in the New York Post writes that Dear John "pushed me perilously close to nausea and diabetic shock, not to mention deep sleep." The movie is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, a leading schmaltz purveyor. (He has turned out 15 of them.) Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore describes them as "beach novels" and the movies made from them as "cinematic sand castles -- sappy, old fashioned and utterly forgotten by the next time the tide rolls in." Writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times , "In Mr. Sparks's novels ... star-crossed loves, often shadowed by illness and death, have an odd way of producing happy, or at least blissfully cathartic, endings. He is a master of the feel-good weepie." Linda Barnard in the Toronto Star agrees, saying that Dear John is contrived to have "romantics reaching for their hankies," but, she adds, "the only eyeball action Dear John got out of me involved rolling."