Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Last Song (2010) [PG] ***

Miley Cyrus stars in this romantic melodrama that looks, sounds and feels like a Hallmark made-for-TV movie. Written by Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in RodantheDear John), this is a Georgia summertime beach romance between Will (Liam Hemsworth), a handsome, well-mannered local boy of wealth and privilege, and Ronnie (Cyrus), a pretty, talented but rebellious girl from New York City who is forced to spend the summer with her estranged father, played by Greg Kinnear.

Kinnear and Kelly Preston are marginally believable as Ronnie's divorced parents, and Bobby Coleman is credible as Ronnie's younger brother Jonah. Performances are either somewhat wooden or overacted, with the notable exception of Kinnear's. The Georgia coastal cinematography is gorgeous, production values are excellent, and Miley Cyrus even sings a song. Asking Miley Cyrus to open a major Hollywood film production is asking a great deal, but she shows poise and determination, and clearly has potential in the film industry.

The major problem with this film is Nicholas Sparks' shamelessly melodramatic screenplay, which manipulates the viewer's emotions while being devoid of any honest emotional content, itself. Moreover, the screenplay is highly derivative, containing scenes stolen from several films including Fly Away HomeLove Story, Mean Girls, and What Women Want. As in every one of Sparks' films, a major character must die before the final credits can roll, and this film is no different. Clearly, a lot of people enjoy seeing PG rated Hallmark-style films in which they invest emotional energy in a major character only to see him or her killed off, because Hollywood keeps churning them out. I am not one of them, however. 

Labels: drama, music, romance, tragedy  
Internet Movie Database 
Metacritic 33/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages critics=40, viewers=70)    


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