By Jack Rico
Of his six titles sent to the big screen, ‘The Last Song’ is Nicholas Sparks worst film. Most of the drawbacks hinge on Miley Cyrus’ acting. She is officially on my list for a 2011 Razzie for worst actress. But perhaps the biggest problem with the film is the calculated, manipulative script that delivers phony, inorganic moments that don’t seem plausible enough for any teenager or adult to believe. It has some feel good moments, but not enough to deserve praise. This is definitely not a date movie adults will enjoy, but rather a transitional primer young fans of Cyrus will be expecting from her in the near future.
‘The Last Song’ centers on a rebellious girl (Miley Cyrus) who is sent to a Southern beach town with her brother (Bobby Coleman) for the summer to stay with her father (Greg Kinnear). Through their mutual love of music, the estranged duo learn to reconnect, but in typical Sparks fashion, some sort of calamity strikes.
I’ve seen Miley’s work on TV and I’ve seen her in concert. Her work seemed to embody the desires and ambitions of her contemporaries and it fit perfectly well within those parameters, but now her and her team of agents and managers are treading treacherous territory to put her in the same dramatic genre where the likes of Carey Mulligan and Anne Hathaway feast on. She isn’t ready to act in these roles that demand so much of her limited emotional range. As a result, the scenes where she has to push and drive the emotional guts of the film fall flat. The rest of the cast do well, but Kinnear and Coleman are the highlights. Kelly Preston was probably the most irrelevant character in the film, she was never around.
Nicholas Sparks is a co-screenwriter here and once again we see the trail of sentimental tragedy he has left in his way. His recent ‘Dear John’ from last month, doesn’t help either, if it hadn’t been for actor Richard Jenkins’ gravitas and acting credibility, it could have been a low point for all involved.
Bottomline, you can find this schmaltz for free on Lifetime or Oprah, don’t pay to see it here.
Rated: PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language.
Release Date: 2010-04-02
Screenplay: Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie
Official Website: http://touchstone.movies.go.com/thelastsong/