The Last Song Review
Miley Cyrus + the author of The Notebook and Dear John? A quirky but lovable character that finds herself in a heartwarming but ultimately doomed situation? Yep, you’re going to get exactly what you expect. The tweeny-pop sensation has essentially chosen the perfect vehicle in The Last Song for a transition from pop singer to… well… pop actress. But it is actually a film that will affect anyone other than her existing fan base? Probably not.
Nicholas Sparks is back
Miley plays Ronnie – a good girl gone bad – who is forced to spend the summer with her estranged father after her mother despairs of her behaviour. It transpires that Ronnie used to be an excellent piano player, but gave up after her father left and now refuses to play. What’s a good-natured crinkly faced Dad to do? Luckily, handsome and often shirtless young beach-hand Will (Liam Hemsworth) turns up pretty sharpish and along with the powers of sea-turtles shows Miley – sorry, Ronnie – the powers of love. But hey, this is Nicholas Sparks after all, so things begin to take inevitable turns towards the tragic. We can almost hear pre-teens everywhere weeping happily at the conclusion; predictably soft focus and emotionally manipulative.
Miley Hopes for more
To be fair to miss Cyrus, its not all bad. Though she evidently struggles with the “bad girl” first half of the film, once she cheers up a bit she is genuinely engaging and interesting to watch. Basically what we’re saying here is that the “acting” part is a bit of a stretch, but that when left to giggle on the beach and make out with a hot guy, she’s more than capable. It’s by no means Sparks’ best work, with the script feeling a little lazy and cliche, and the direction does little to counter it. Greg Kinnear is likable and inoffensive as Nice Dad, and Bobby Coleman excels as Ronnie’s younger brother, so in many ways it’s not nearly as bad as we feared it would be. If you’re a Cyrus fan, (we could basically replace that question with “if you are under 14”) you will probably enjoy the wealth of gentle sap The Last Song has to offer. And anyone else, well, it’ll be OK. We survived.