The Last Song
Miley Cyrus announced before her dramatic film debut The Last Song was
being released to theaters that she was giving up her stellar career as a
pop singer to concentrate on acting.
that the film has been released, it looks like Cyrus may want to reconsider
giving up her day job just yet.
not that she has no talent as an actress, but she certainly at this point
does not have enough talent to carry a film. She can do certain things very
well. She’s very good at brooding, pouting and being bitchy. She has a luminous
smile. She can even cry on cue.
However, she doesn’t have the range of emotions to pull off this very
overwrought material – a deficiency that is made even more obvious in the
scenes she has to play against a cagey film vet like Greg Kinnear. Cyrus
looks overmatched, honestly.
course this film would be a high wire act for just about any young actress.
It was based on a book by the cheesy-novelist du jour, Nicholas
Sparks (who also receives his
first co-screenwriter credit on this project).
In fact, apparently Sparks wrote this novel in the hopes
that someday Miley Cyrus would star in the film adaptation. Dare to
dream, Nicholas. Particularly when that dream is responsible for...
umm... this. Never mind.
Sparks’ maudlin novels
have been surprisingly fertile ground for Hollywood (I will resist the
overly-obvious-yet-valid "things grow in manure" pun) – films based on his work include
The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Dear John and
Night in Rodanthe with two more in the works.
Sparks film, you can expect certain things. True love will not go smoothly,
but it will eventually overcome all adversity. Someone will be hiding the
fact that they are dying. Our main character will
be overly emotional and misunderstood. Kissing is even more important
than sex. People will cry and tell each other “I love you”
almost constantly. They will live in a beautiful, extraordinarily scenic
rural area and wallow in the wonder of nature. And there will be enough sap to
drown a forest of trees.
However, for all the problems with Sparks as a writer, one thing that his
films always had
at least previously – were very strong actors in
their lead roles, who are savvy enough artists that the massive servings of
corn have a sense of gravitas. Amongst these actors who almost
made Sparks’ work bearable: Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, Paul
Newman, Mandy Moore, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Diane Lane, Richard Gere
and Amanda Seyfried.
whose film experience is limited to The Hannah Montana Movie,
of Both Worlds Concert and a voiceover in the animated film Bolt
is just lost here. She is used to light comedy in her sitcom;
is outside of her range. As much as she tries gamely to wallow in the
melodrama, she just doesn’t have the touch to pull it off.
course, it doesn’t help that her pretty boy love interest is played by
inscrutable Australian actor Liam Hemsworth – best known for a stint on the
long-lived Aussie soap Neighbors. Hemsworth does a wonderful job in
losing his natural accent for a small-town Georgia twang, but otherwise his
character is rather generic. While most of the fault for that goes on the
writer, Hemsworth also isn’t quite good enough to elevate the material.
mentioned before, the only thing that raises the film up is Kinnear. His
character is as poorly-written and clichéd as everyone else’s, but when he
is on screen The Last Song gets its only real shots of life and
Miley, don’t go all in quite yet. Lots of people juggle careers as a
musician and as an actor. Continue riding out the pop stardom – because
let’s face it, even your music career has passed its peak – and take some
acting classes. Someday you may be able to have a career just as an
actress, but you aren’t quite there yet.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: August 5, 2010.