Hannah Montana: The Movie (DVD)

As she has often demonstrated, Miley Cyrus does not have confidence issues. She’s funny, bright and, as she proves on this film’s stand-out song The Climb, she can belt out a country ballad too. While the latter talent comes across in this, the first big screen version of her smash hit Disney series Hannah Montana doesn’t really get to show off the former, aside from some slightly laboured slapstick

Still, if you’re an eight-year old girl you probably won’t notice or care that perhaps your female lead deserves a little more: you’ll be too busy screaming and declaring Hannah Montana: The Movie the best thing, like, ever. You know?

Unless you’ve lived under a rock the last 24 months, you should know the basic premise that Hannah Montana is the secret superstar alter-ego of young Miley Stewart (Cyrus). She’s a High School student by day and pop superstar by night in a combo that gives Disney one of its ultimate concept double whammies: stories about family values with a catchy pop / country soundtrack.

As far as the film goes, it’s very much a case of if it ain’t broke...   as Hannah Montana: The Movie is effectively a longer-than-usual episode of the show, only with a better cast, direction and more expensive production values. As the film opens, Hannah’s popularity is at an all time high, and the pressures of Miley’s dual life are becoming harder and harder to juggle, particularly as far as the key relationships — best mate Lilly (Osment), dad Robby Ray (the other Cyrus) — are concerned. Robby decides to teach his daughter a lesson so, while she’s expecting a visit to the Grammys, he diverts her private jet to the down-home delights of Crowley Corners, Tennessee, Miley’s birthplace. The ultimatum? Two weeks to learn what’s more important, the glitz of Hannah or the sweet, family-first Miley?

So, yes, eight-year old girls will lap it up. If you’re not in that demographic, you might think it’s all a waste of time and it is hard to imagine too many 18-year-old, hoodie-wearing yobbos lapping up the heart-tugging morals and the air of general obviousness. However, that’s not to write the film off completely. Admittedly the comedy is basically Miley falling over (a lot), there are no great, dark twists in the script and the central romance — Miley and good ol’ boy Travis (Till) — is as wholesome and one-foot-on-the-floor as they come. But director Chelsom still has a decent eye for a laugh (and cheerily acknowledges the format's shortcomings), the ending isn’t quite as pat as you might fear and the music — once they’ve left the identikit pop behind and arrived in country, er, country — is terrific. As a package, that’s very hard to dislike.

EXTRAS *** An audio commentary with director Chelsom, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a music video for the song The Climb, and two featurettes - Find Your Way Back Home, and I Should Have Gone to FIlm School.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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