Who's In It: Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, Liam Hemsworth, Bobby Coleman, Kelly Preston, Carly Chaikin
The Basics: Seventeen-year-old Ronnie Miller (Miley Cyrus) is a rebellious teenager sent with her little bro to spend the summer with their dad (Greg Kinnear) on the sunny shores of Georgia's Tybee Island. Ronnie's still resentful of her dad in the wake of her parents' divorce and begrudgingly makes the most of her torturous summer by ignoring her precocious brother, hanging out with delinquent teenagers, and allowing a gorgeous local stud, Will Blakely (Liam Hemsworth), to romance her. As Will and Ronnie fall deeper into puppy love, Ronnie begins to reconnect with her father… and then, because this is a Nicholas Sparks movie, the entire cast conspires to make us all weep into our hankies.
What's The Deal: The Last Song should reap handsome box office rewards and boost the stock value of Kleenex this week, thanks to the calculated combined powers of pop star Miley Cyrus and King Nicholas Sparks of Melodramaland. That's mostly because, in addition to having a knack for corny plot lines and montages of young people chastely making out up and down the Southeastern coastline, this Sparks fellow has a sixth sense for making audiences cry. And while she's not quite ready to set her sights on the Oscars, teen idol Miley Cyrus does an admirable job considering it's her first dramatic role ever -- albeit one that mostly demands she more or less tell parental unit Greg Kinnear to talk to the hand in as many ways as possible and then act standoffish to every person who comes her way. By the time Miley gets to swap spit with real-life boyfriend Hemsworth all over Tybee Island, it's such a relief to see flickers of the good old sunshiny Miley taking over from this strange new angsty Miley that you half wish she'd just break into "Party in the U.S.A." and turn this weepie into a bubblegum music video. At least then we wouldn't be leaving the theater an emotional wreck, humming the new plaintive Miley Cyrus theme song into our tissues. Go with your girlfriends and mothers for a mascara-smearing, emotional time at the movies.
Notes On The New, Serious Miley: With this tailor-made role as her new calling card (Sparks wrote the story with her specifically in mind), Miley Cyrus intends on leaving her pop princess days behind her to focus on a new dramatic acting career. Unfortunately, Cyrus isn't quite convincing in her scenes as the cynical, morose Ronnie, relying on a pout and sullen glare to convey her simply drawn teenage anguish. In fact, you might be hard pressed to imagine how growing up at the center of a mega-million dollar franchise has ever given the 17-year-old any real-life teenager woes to draw on. (Method acting, this ain't.) Thankfully, her chemistry with Kinnear eventually crackles to life, and while you never fully forget that you're watching a Miley Cyrus vehicle, she ventures just far enough from her pop idol persona that we wonder where she'll go next in her development as an actress.
Notes On The Power Of Nicholas Sparks: Message in a Bottle. The Notebook. A Walk to Remember. Nights in Rodanthe. Dear John. Nicholas Sparks has been serving up the torrid romance-touched-by-fate angle for years, and while this is his first film that wasn't a novel first, it's no less Nicholas Sparks-y. Dudes seem to resist the cult of Sparks en masse, so don't be surprised if your guy hesitates to join you at the multiplex for this teen romance-drama. Why fight it? Let the boys see their Greek titans clash this week while you make it a girls' night out.
Us Weekly Celeb Obsession Quotient: High, especially considering that Cyrus and Hemsworth's reported first kiss was captured in the film for all to see. I dare you not to spend half the movie wondering how they make out and fight in real life as you watch them make out and fight for pretend.