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For those who will care, 'Hannah Montana' is a charming outing

| Thursday, April 9, 2009

There's no way to analyze this movie as an adult. The big-screen version of the Disney TV series is not made for us -- it's made for tween girls and no one else -- and so we must consider how they're going to respond to it.

Now, this will come as no surprise at all, but they're gonna love it. If you were a 10-year-old girl, you'd also want to be small-town sweetheart Miley Stewart and-or her secret pop-star alter ego, Hannah Montana. Singer-songwriter-dancer-trendsetter Miley Cyrus makes both characters so likably harmless, so attractively accessible, it's hard not to be charmed.

Just you try to resist her endless supply of energy and moxie. Even when she gets a little carried away with her celebrity lifestyle in Los Angeles -- which prompts a return to Tennessee for some hometown reprogramming -- she still has a magnetism about her.

Nevertheless, "Hannah Montana: The Movie" drags us all back to the fictional Crowley Corners to bang us over the head with the message that big cities are bad and small towns are good.

And there's plenty of down-home singin' and cuttin' up to emphasize that point. The predictable (although beautifully photographed) film from director Peter Chelsom finds Miley's dad, Robby Ray (Cyrus' real-life father, Billy Ray), taking her home to reconnect with her roots.

There she bonds with Grandma (Margo Martindale) and finds her first boyfriend (Lucas Till), a non-threatening farmhand she's known since childhood. But a British tabloid reporter (Peter Gunn) has followed her there, trying to dig up some dirt on Hannah.

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