“Tonight, on a very special Hannah Montana… Miley turns into a bratty sourpuss for 20 minutes, then meets and kisses a hot guy on the beach and veers back toward the sweet smiley Miley that 10 year old girls everywhere have come to know and love. And somebody dies. So you’ll cry.”
Oh wait, The Last Song ISN’T supposed to be a weepy, parallel-universe Hannah Montana episode?? Then WHY is it rated PG as opposed to a much more appropriate PG-13? One can only assume it’s because Miley’s reps (and Disney) aren’t near ready to alienate Miley’s tweeny-bopper fan base, despite her alleged desire to be taken more seriously as an Actress. The girl’s got musical talent, but she’s no Anna Paquin or Dakota Fanning. And let’s face it, Kristin Stewart (Twilight’s Bella) has a lock on big-screen teenage angst right now. If I were Miley, I’d put a lid on the movie career for a while and go begging for a meaty role on Glee.
Now, back to The Last Song. It is what it is – a mediocre chick flick based on the novel by Nicholas “The Notebook” Sparks . It’s no better or worse than his other recent book-turned-movie, Dear John. In The Last Song, Cyrus plays Ronnie Miller, a 17-year-old piano-playing prodigy who is seemingly at odds with the world since her parents’ divorce a few years earlier. Her mother (Kelly Preston in a very small role) sends Ronnie and her younger brother Jonah (extremely well-played by Bobbie Coleman) to live with their father Steve (awesomely played by Greg Kinnear) for the summer on Tybee Island, Georgia. Her first day on the island, Ronnie catches the eye of hunky beach volleyball player Will (the serviceably cute Liam Hemsworth). And before ya know it, Ronnie is warming up to Will, the town, and even her father. Greg Kinnear gives the strongest performance of the bunch as a (spoiler alert!) cancer-stricken dad trying to connect/reconnect with his kids before he runs out of time. The movie has its moments of humor and heart and Miley Cyrus isn’t terrible, though she is prone to smirks, smiles and eye-rolls that make it difficult to see her as anyone other than “Hannah Montana.” The Last Song is formulaic and predictable, but can make for a harmless date movie or chick flick outing or rental. Reviews will be meaningless to Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana fans. They will ask to see it and swear they liked it – no matter what.