It’s certainly difficult to write something that is sure to anger pubescent girls throughout the world, but this Last Song should have never been sung. So trite and one-dimensional in storytelling and performances is The Last Song, a 107-minute outing from Offspring Entertainment and Touchstone Pictures, one might think it is a cheeseball teen flick from the eighties. Unfortunately there are no laughs here, no fun, no depth, and no enjoyment.
In a screenplay from Nicholas Sparks & Jeff Van Wie, based on the novel by Sparks, we meet seventeen-year-old Ronnie (Miley Cyrus), who is being forced to spend the summer on the beautiful Tybee Island with her father with whom she has been angry since her parents divorced three years ago. Little or no introduction to our characters is provided. We simply learn of Ronnie’s anger by her pouting which Cyrus has mastered and evokes throughout the film.
Ronnie establishes relationships in ways that only happen in movies. She shows her emotional unstableness by overreacting to the plight of a nest of unhatched sea turtles, displays an inconsistent caring for her little brother (an underutilized Bobby Coleman), and falls in love with Will (Liam Hemsworth), the rich volleyball-playing hunk. He is then forced to deal with the unstable Ronnie who, along with the previously mentioned issues, also struggles with being a gifted pianist who has been accepted to Julliard.
Sigh, poor Ronnie.
The saddest part is that there was potential here. Had some time been invested in developing the story and characters, rather than simply turning this into a Cyrus vehicle which she is not yet ready to drive even though every turn can be seen from miles away, a decent product could have been delivered.
Cyrus is simply in over her head here, and the rest of the cast is left with little to do. Greg Kinnear is like a reined-in thoroughbred struggling to run as Ronnie’s father Steve who is trying to establish a relationship with his children, and Kelly Preston as Kim (Ronnie’s mom) is simply given too little to do.
The audience obviously wants more, yet is forced to watch Ronnie spend the entire film trying to decide with whom she will be angry at next. As this song reached its final chorus, an audible reaction of frustration could be heard in the theatre where this reviewer was seated as Ronnie overreacted and got angry at Will for the umpteenth time.
There are subplots in this film including a burned-down church, and some Oliver Twist characters to provide an antagonist, but those respective storylines are so embarrassingly contrived, they hardly deserve the mention.
Recommendation: Watching Ronnie truly grow throughout this pivotal summer in her life with some deep and meaningful storytelling and some serious counseling, rather than just moving Cyrus from stereotypical teen flick scene to stereotypical teen flick scene, might have made for interesting viewing. That is not the case here. This film is laughable, and will only tug at your heartstrings if you close your eyes. Otherwise you will see said strings about to be pulled long before you should. Don’t waste good money on this song. TBS is sure to be singing it in a few months.
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