"The Last Song" has several distinctions. It's the first novel author Nicholas Sparks wrote specifically to be adapted into a movie, it's Miley Cyrus' first "mature" role and it's one of the first films in contention for the worst of 2010.
Cyrus stars as Ronnie Miller, a piano prodigy who's rejected her talents following the painful divorce of her mother and father (Kelly Preston and Greg Kinnear). Sent with her brother to reconnect with their father over the summer in a small Southern beach town, she meets and falls for the local volleyball god (distractingly beautiful Liam Hemsworth).
The film, penned by king of the weepy romance Sparks, was developed and written specifically for Cyrus as a vehicle to introduce her to older audiences, and, since it is Sparks and you know someone's going to die, you find yourself praying it'll be Cryus. Think of it as a reverse "Terms of Endearment" with dashes of every teen romance you've ever seen, all whipped through the Sparks blender and spewed out on the other side.
Cyrus, sporting a nose ring and striving for sullen and petulant, is a disaster, incapable of conveying any emotion besides anger, annoyance or vacancy during constant, dull tantrums. Considering how much she's made from Disney, you'd think she'd be able to afford a better on-set acting coach.
Newcomer Liam Hemsworth, looking like a young Paul Walker with Peter Gallagher's eyebrows glued to his forehead, is inhumanly pretty but equally blank as the stud with a heart of gold. P.S. We defy you not to laugh at one scene that's a blatant rip off of "Top Gun" without the Ice Man.
Though Greg Kinnear is one of the film's only saving graces, his time on screen is squandered as director Julie Anne Robinson races back to Cryus' forced emoting.
Manipulative, cheesy, and reeking of a too expensive Hallmark Movie of the Week, you hate yourself for the moments the film batters you into emotional submission, ripping tears from your eye ducts with the dirtiest of tactics. If Cyrus thinks this is the film that will win her a new adult following, she's got that Hannah Montana wig on too tight.
"The Last Song" opens March 31.