The Last Song

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Posted April 1, 2010 in Film

In Hannah Montana: The Movie, Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart/Miley Cyrus throws herself a banging, bubblegum beach party. Here, she skulks through one, shoulders hunched, nose ring glinting, combat boots laced to kill. And the bikini teens who venerate her other lives sneer. If you trust the tabloids, this punk Miley may be the closest to her own personality. Certainly, she had a hand in creating her: when Disney gave her a Hannah-free breakout feature simply slated “Untitled Miley Cyrus Project,” she said she wanted to do one of novelist Nicholas Sparks’ doomed big romances. Trouble was he was fresh out of books. So the Mouse strong-armed him into cranking out another and the rush job result is a Frankenstein of Sparks clichés. Miley plays a piano prodigy who abandoned the ivories when her parents divorced. Forced to spend the summer with her estranged dad (Greg Kinnear) and brother (Bobby Coleman), she’s immediately and inexplicably latched onto by Sparks’ most stalkerish dreamboat: a Vanderbilt-accepted, mechanic, environmentalist and volleyball champ (Liam Hemsworth). For 30 minutes, they’re grating. The stretch where they fall in love is a music video. But for 10 minutes, their romance—and the film—blooms and deepens before the merciless tear factory starts cranking. This is Miley’s vehicle, but the strongest scenes are between Kinnear and Coleman. Their father-son bond deserves its own movie, free from the heavy-handed, play-it-safe gloss the studio has glommed onto its prize teen even as she struggles to rebel.

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