| The Easter Bunny will have to share the weekend spotlight with 16-year-old pop culture sensation Miley Cyrus.
The young actress-singer-songwriter has been propelled to international superstar status by the Emmy-nominated television series “The Hannah Montana Show,” which has run for four seasons on the Disney Channel. Cyrus plays a girl who lives a double life as an average teenage school girl named Miley Stewart by day and a famous pop singer named Hannah Montana by night. She conceals her background and real identity from the general public. Close friends and family are the only ones privy to her secret.
She doesn’t need a phone booth like Clark Kent to become someone else. A broom closet will work just fine for donning a blonde wig, adding some makeup and changing into a glitzy outfit.
Her character has always had the best of both worlds (which happens to be the title of her theme song). Miley has always been able to achieve the right balance between herself and her famous alter ego. In the movie version, the demands of being Montana begin to take over her entire life.
After a paparazzi-captured fight over a pair of designer shoes with Tyra Banks at a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Miley’s widowed father, Robby Ray Stewart (Miley’s real-life dad and multi-platinum country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus) tricks Miley into thinking she’s going to New York City to perform at an awards show when he is really taking her back home to Crowley Corners, Tenn.
This trip back to Miley’s roots coincides with a birthday celebration for her maternal grandmother Ruby (Margo Martindale), who has a 200-acre farm. Miley is reunited with her horse Blue Jeans and a former grade school classmate, Travis Brody (Lucas Till), who is now a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cowboy hunk. Miley gets her first taste of romance.
Grandma Ruby also plays matchmaker with Robby Ray, setting him up with her beautiful foreman Lorelai (Melora Hardin from “27 Dresses” and “The Office”). Complications arise when Hannah Montana is needed to appear at a concert fundraiser to save the area’s pristine natural environment from a greedy real estate developer (Barry Bostwick).
Miley’s best friend, Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment), comes to her rescue disguised as Montana. All the while a British reporter for a sleazy tabloid, Oswald Granger (Peter Gunn), is trying to uncover the secret identity of Montana.
Other regulars from the television series that make appearances include: Jason Earles as Miley’s older brother Jackson Stewart; Mitchel Musso as close friend Oliver; and Moises Arias as Rico. Vanessa Williams plays the part of Montana’s gung-ho and glamorous publicist Vita. Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and country music trio Rascal Flatts make guest star cameos.
Walt Disney Pictures has hit pay dirt again with this family-friendly comedy adventure. The devoted and loyal fan base of girls ages 6 to 14 and their moms will not be disappointed. This wholesome, music-filled entertainment extravaganza is refreshing. Cyrus is a cute little dynamo who has a charming personality and instant likability. She belts out her songs, but still enunciates in such a way that every word in the lyrics is discernible.
A touching moment that reflects the chemistry of a wonderful father-daughter relationship occurs when Miley and Billy Ray sing the duet “Butterfly Fly Away.” Young girls will want to mimic the dance steps and hand motions in the hip-hop, choreographed country fusion number “Hoedown Throwdown.” The signature moment of the movie occurs when Miley performs the ballad “The Climb,” which encapsulates Miley’s journey and the main message of the film that “life is a climb, but the view is great.”
The issues involving identity, family and relationships stress how important it is to know who you are and where you came from. The wish fulfillment aspects transcend the line between fiction and reality since the Cyrus family actually hails from Nashville.
It is easy to see how girls can identify with this super heroine as a role model. Besides the 12 new songs performed by Cyrus that should make the soundtrack a coveted item, the variety of outfits worn in the movie should provide fashion ideas for the next shopping trip to the mall. There is an abundance of physical humor with comedic pratfalls taken by several characters. This movie will touch your heart and provide surprises as you watch this country girl just having fun.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"