Quick Take: Everyone's favorite rock princess more than pleases her biggest fans. Surprisingly, there's plenty of movie moments for boys to like, too.
It will come as a surprise to no one that Hannah Montana: The Movie was not created for grownups.
But oh, watching the kids.
They arrived in their Hannah Montana T-shirts, they sang, they danced, they giggled, they "awwwed," and when Hannah engaged in some bad-girl behavior that netted her a not-so-flattering picture on the front page of the daily rag, they even scolded her with a group (insert chiding tone here) "Ooooooh." And when they left, they had big old little girl smiles.
And that, my friends, is why we grownups go to the movies.
True, nobody's going to mistake Hannah's cinematic debut for the next Academy Award sleeper, nor is it likely to be anyone's date night pick. But, it's kinda fun. It's got a sweet demeanor. There's nothing -- and I mean nothing -- that will make you blush. And, there are even a few genuine guffaws for those outside the target demo, as evidenced by the spectator next to me who hee-hawed loudly during a scene that involved a ferret, a flambé and a pair of dropped drawers. And said spectator was an adult. With a full beard. Who knew?
The move to the big screen finds Hannah behaving badly and dragged home to Tennessee where Grandma runs a ranch and nighttimes are spent with gee-tar and family singing ditties al fresco on the moonlit front porch. Hannah's none too pleased until she meets a cute cowboy who gets her rethinking the whole ranch-hand business. Before you can say "Yee-haw," Hannah's Miley again, riding horses, building barns and swinging on a rope swing before dunking into the idyllic crick.
Corny? Yep. A little contrived? Mmm hmm. Idealized? You betcha -- what other country town has Rascall Flats and Taylor Swift as family besties? But Hannah Montana the rock-star-slash-ordinary girl is as much a fairy-tale princess as any Disney royal, so why not? And tweeners are as enamored of Hannah as I was back in the day when I couldn't think of anything cooler than getting behind a keyboard and climbing on stage as the next Laurie Partridge. It's the kind of movie in which it sounds perfectly reasonable to tell a driver to "Step on it!" or for a villain to utter something cinematically villainous like, "You ain't never gonna raise the money it'll take to save the meadow."
But, it's fun. Honest. Pratfall-laden broad comedy leaves the target demo in stitches, while an energetic scene in which Cyrus sings the tune "Hoedown Showdown" will have them trying out steps that will no doubt leave most grownups in knots. "We're gonna have to go home and watch that in slo mo," laughed Tricia who brought along her daughter Michaela, 6, and cousins Meghan 11, Madison, 6, and Eoin, 5. Even better, the kids hopped and bopped until the final credit rolled.
And they left with a big old smile.
What better reason to go to the movies than that?
Kids Will Like:
Here's a surprise: it's not a girly movie. Not according to Eoin, age 5. Sure, he went along only semi-willingly. (Hey, he won the tickets.) But he liked it. A lot. Not surprisingly, the girl cousins (all wearing Hannah Montana T-shirts) luvvvved it. Big hits: the ferret and the bonk-laden pratfalls by the evil tabloid journalist and big brother Jackson. Plus, they swooned over the Miley/Travis romance. Oh, and the music. If they don't already have the soundtrack, they'll definitely want it.
Parents Will Like:
It's not really made for us, but I'd be totally lying if I said I didn't leave humming Butterfly, the father/daughter duet near the end. The music is catchy. Even better, in this age of sketchy humor even in the tamest movies, there's something to be said for Hannah the movie's gentle sensibility. As family oriented as the Waltons, as sweet as a Hallmark movie, and as innocent as the Partridge Family, it's one you can watch with your kids without breaking a sweat. Great to see faces like Margo Martindale and Vanessa Williams. Stay through the early credits and you'll be reminded of Williams roots as a song-and-dance girl.