Sunday, July 05, 2009

HANNAH MONTANTA - THE MOVIE: way better than it ought to be

The shameful truth is that the HANNAH MONTANA movie is a perfectly watchable, highly enjoyable teen rom-com even for people like me who aren't in the target demographic. It's well made, well written, funny when it should be funny, sweet when it should be sweet, and even though it stays within the constraints of the genre, it's at the top of its league. Essentially the film is a classic double-identity comedy in the manner of SHE'S THE MAN or, for people who were the right demographic in the 80s, THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS. Indeed, it's the same emotional core that powers superhero flicks like SPIDERMAN and SUPERMAN. Miley Cyrus plays a character based on herself - a Tennessee teen who has found fame as a pop-star called Hannah Montana. Her father (real life dad Billy-Ray Cyrus) and her family are in on the secret but back home, everyone just knows her as Miley. Drunk on success and the Hollywood lifestyle, dad takes Miley/Hannah back to Tennessee where she falls for the local farmboy (PRINCESS BRIDE fans!) and dad falls for someone too. Problem is, both relationships are compromised by the lies and craziness around protecting Hannah Montana's real identity when she comes to town to play a concert that will save some local land for evil developers. I rather like the idea that a Disney movie can confront the Hannah fans with the inherent weirdness of teen stardom and the dual (if not triple) identity on which the successful franchise rests. No surprises that the resolution is no resolution at all: home-town values may be best; honesty may be best; but the fans still need a product, and Miley still needs to sing.

HANNAH MONTANA - THE MOVIE was released in April 2009. It is currently on release in Argentina, New Zealand, Romania, Belgium, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is released on July 30th in Portugal, on August 19th in the Netherlands and on August 28th in Venezuela.

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