The Last Song
The meteoric rise to tween fame of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana has paralleled the rising popularity of writer Nicholas Sparks (A Walk To Remember, The Notebook), so having Sparks create a vehicle specifically for Billy Ray’s daughter must have seemed like a sure-fire bet for Disney. The Last Song is, however, a rather squelchy attempt to make an ingénue grow up in public.
Jobbing TV director Julie Anne Robinson brings a bland TV movie sheen to Sparks’ predictable story about initially unforgiving malcontent Ronnie Miller (Cyrus), who travels South with her little brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) to stay with absentee father Steve (Greg Kinnear). As with Sparks’ Dear John, a chance meeting on the beach with a local hunk Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth) leads to a stuttering romance, before a convenient tragedy brings them back together.
Whereas Lasse Hallstrom improbably elicited decent performances from Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum to add emotional depth to Dear John, Robinson singularly fails to do the same for Hemsworth and Cyrus, the latter’s toothy grin misapplied to scenes in which she’s supposedly grieving. The result is a soppy dirge tailored only for Montana die-hards.
General release from Fri 30 Apr.