Mandy Moore dissapoints as leading lady

There are a few things potential viewers want to know about Mandy Moore’s leading role in A Walk to Remember (Warner Brothers) before they shell out eight bucks for a ticket. Is it easy for Moore to juggle her teen-pop stardom and a budding movie career? Was changing from a blonde to a brunette a tough decision? Most importantly, did she read the script for this movie before she took the role?

These are all pressing issues almost as interesting as the movie itself. Perhaps, more so, because the plot of this teen drama unfolds as clumsily as grandma’s broken-down sofa bed.

A Walk to Remember rips off classical teen drama themes, matching a cool boy and dorky girl with predictable consequences. Landon Carter (Shane West) plays a smooth and popular young man disenchanted with life. Landon drives an old Mustang and is in trouble with the law.

Then there’s our leading lady Jamie, played by Moore. She’s frumpy and only owns one sweater, which she wears daily. Jamie likes science, especially astronomy, and is completely separated from the Carter’s social world. Anyone else know where this is going?

It’s pretty silly how the two end up becoming friends. Part of Landon’s punishment for drinking and carousing at the local cement factory is to star in the school play opposite Jamie.

In short, there are many romantic things that follow, which are pretty cute and original. But they are lost in the cobweb of confusing details that make this movie pretty tedious to watch. For example, Jamie is devoutly religious because her father is the preacher at the local church. But at times her sugary sweet take on life is sickening and unrealistic, for reasons that become clear toward the film’s end.

The movie is set in Beaufort, N.C., near Wilmington, where the teen drama “Dawson’s Creek” is filmed. It’s a nice backdrop.
Daryl Hannah plays Jamie’s mother. She adopted a bad Cleopatra haircut for the role as if to say, “Mandy, you’re right, people will take me more seriously as a brunette.” Peter Coyote is good as the father, but it is confusing why he is so strict.

A lot of musicians star in their own movies. Heck, Elvis did it. And if you really like Mandy Moore, perhaps you will like this one. But perhaps Miss Moore should have done a more upbeat movie – one that shows more of the spunky, fun side that made her famous in the first place. Either way, she does have some competition. Brittany Spears’ movie opens in February, and Eminem’s opens in July. If they’re anything like Moore’s, we’re in for a painful summer movie season.

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