If you enjoy a good old-fashioned “weepie,” this dreamlike adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller ought to be right up your alley. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Notebook tells a deceptively simple and, indeed, familiar tale. It’s all about the star-crossed romance of small-town boy Noah (Ryan Gosling) and pampered princess Allie (Rachel McAdams), who are thrown together one summer just before World War II. Allie’s upper-class parents insist that Noah isn’t right for their precious daughter and whisk her back to their hometown, where a dashing young lawyer (James Marsden) sweeps her off her feet. Fate reunites Noah and Allie after the war, and that’s when the story really gets interesting. We see this intimate tale being spun in a present-day retirement home, read from a notebook by an old gentleman (James Garner) to a friend suffering from Alzheimer’s (Gena Rowlands). Viewers won’t be unduly strained to figure out how the current narrative relates to the 1940s part of the plot, but it doesn’t matter because that’s not what’s important. Director Nick Cassavetes (Blow) gives this timeworn material a contemporary spin, eliciting naturalistic performances from Gosling and McAdams and building to a predictable but nonetheless affecting climax. The period portions of the story have the same rich texture found in such nostalgic romances as The Way We Were and Summer of ‘42, with which The Notebook compares favorably. At one time movies like this one were called “three-hanky jobs” by cynical critics, and with good reason: When the closing credits rolled where we caught it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.