I’m not sure what’s more surprising, the fact that I’m not in a diabetic coma at this point or that TV director Julie Anne Robinson — working from a screenplay co-written by soap-meister Nicholas Sparks himself — has made a movie that makes Lasse Halström’s Nicholas Sparks movie Dear John look like a work of pure class and genius. (It doesn’t help that Sparks has been going around in interviews claiming he’s a better writer than Cormac McCarthy and comparing himself to Hemingway.) The Last Song boasts your general Sparks-powered plotting, where boy meets girl followed by 90 or so minutes of hard luck. Here, the girl is Ronnie (Miley Cyrus), an angst-ridden teen forced to move from New York to Georgia with her whiny comic-relief brother (Bobby Coleman) to live with their estranged father (Greg Kinnear). Ronnie soon meets Will (Liam Hemsworth), a hunky mechanic with a heart of gold and soon falls for this shirtless rube. This being Sparks, they can’t simply just live happily ever after. Nope, fate and lazy scripting decide to gum up the works with a parade of tough breaks. None of the hokiness ever really gels and is used simply in the service of moving the plot along. But the movie doesn’t stop there. The film’s also rife with the worst kind of bunk sitcom jokes imaginable and Miley Cyrus being out-acted by a raccoon. All of this cheese-ball rubbish creates one lobotomizing moviegoing experience.
Director: Julie Anne Robinson
Writer: Nicholas Sparks and Jeff Van Wie
Producer: Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Bobby Coleman, Liam Hemsworth, Hallock Beals, Nick Lashaway, Carly Chaikin, Nick Searcy, Kate Vernon, Kelly Preston and Greg Kinnear