by Rick Grant
Grade: B / Rated G / 102 min
Amongst all the hoopla about tween sensation Miley Cyrus, this semi-biographical movie is a cautionary tale of a young girl bedazzled by fame returning to her roots. Parents of little girls will be relieved that Disney took the high road by making a folksy film set in Crowley Corners, Tennessee.
The story has a ring of truth when pop star Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) loses her identity by trying to play herself and her character, Hannah Montana in the plastic world of pop super-stardom. She is hustled from one gig and personal appearances to the next by a pushy publicity agent, Vita (Vanessa Williams).
Miley’s dad, Robby Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus) forces his spoiled 16 year old daughter to return home for two weeks to visit her grandmother to gain back her roots perspective. The bucolic Tennessee hill country is a far cry from the glitter and glamour of Miley’s hectic life as Hannah. But, after throwing a tantrum, she is forced to return home and gradually realizes its charm.
Followed by a British tabloid journalist, who gets laughs as a bumbling fool, Miley resists getting back into her life as a ranch girl. However, her grandmother understands Miley and tells her to get over herself and enjoy the simple pleasures of the country. Miley’s rural rehab is helped by meeting a handsome ranch hand who likes Miley but not Hannah.
Funny, it takes an inordinate amount of time for the cowboy guy to recognize that Miley and Hannah are the same person. Duh! Just putting on the blonde wig doesn’t change her facial features which are distinct. Well, it’s a Disney film and odd things happen. A frisky ferret causes problems at the dinner setup to honor Hannah, and when she hops on her horse, she falls off and he takes off.
Parents who are dragged to this by their little girls must qualify this film as aimed at its target audience that have unsophisticated reactions to comedic stunts. So, the pratfalls and other low level humor will glean screams and giggles from the prepubescent viewers. When the alligator nips at the stunt man’s butt is also typical of the Vaudevillian styled comedy. Hey, look its Barry Bostwick (yell out the Rocky Horror profanity) as the villainous developer who wants to build an ugly mall near the town. And, the tabloid journalist falls in the mud or off a tree. Poor schmuck just can’t catch a break.
Amid the pastoral setting, there are front porch jam sessions with some guy playing a guitar and the family singing tunes which adds the down home feel of the picture, impeccably recorded in a studio. Yeah, but Disney always goes the extra mile to ensure the highest production values in their family films.
In reality, Miley Cyrus is a ubiguitous brand name in danger of over-exposure. Her image as Hannah Montana is everywhere, and as Miley Cyrus, she’s on talk shows, in the movies, in concert, with endless ancilliary products being produced. So the idea of the movie makes sense, portraying Miley with her natural hair, back in her home town as a regular teenager. However, it’s not likely that Miley-mania will end soon as the superstar grows up before our eyes.
The Hannah Montana Movie
by Rick Grant