×

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Even if you live in a cave or loathe little girls, you've probably heard of Hannah Montana.

With:
Hannah/Miley - Miley Cyrus Robby Ray - Billy Ray Cyrus Lilly - Emily Osment Jackson - Jason Earles Oliver - Mitchel Musso Travis Brody - Lucas Till Vita - Vanessa Williams Ruby - Margo Martindale Oswald Granger - Peter Gunn Lorelai - Melora Hardin Mr. Bradley - Barry Bostwick

Even if you live in a cave or loathe little girls, you’ve probably heard of Hannah Montana. The pop-star alter ego of regular gal Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) and the title character of the wildly popular Disney Channel series sashays back to the bigscreen without missing a beat in “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” Widely accessible even to neophytes, the G-rated pic is innocuous fare that should score big with tween girls, as well as those parents seeking age-appropriate role models for their daughters.

The pic’s theatrical release — sandwiched between Cyrus’ sold-out 2008 tour and 3-D concert film, and the upcoming publication of her memoirs (at age 16) — seems poised to maximize existing Miley-mania. (Her stardom has long since eclipsed that of her dad, country star Billy Ray Cyrus). Propelled by the younger Cyrus’ charisma and undeniable talent, the Peter Chelsom-helmed film looks to be another smart move in a career thoughtfully shepherded by her father.

Popular on Variety

A kind of meta-commentary, at least in part, on the “Hannah” phenomenon, the pic kicks off with Miley trying to get into a concert — her own –with best pal Lilly (Emily Osment), while Miley’s dad Robby Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus, of course) fumes backstage over her late arrival. Hijacking a golf cart, the girls zoom past clueless security guards (unaware, like everyone else, that Miley and Hannah are the same girl), greet Dad and transform mild-mannered Miley into Hannah (with the help of blonde wig, false lashes, sequins and heels) in time for her show.

Busy moonlighting in Hannah Montana musicvideos and jetting off to awards shows, Miley barely has time for friends or family anymore; the Hannah character and celebrity obligations have overtaken her life. After Miley/Hannah nearly ruins Lilly’s sweet-16 bash and is a no-show at her brother Jackson’s (Jason Earles) college sendoff, Robby Ray hauls her off to Tennessee for a dose of reality, promising to turn the pampered Malibu starlet back into a country girl.

Despite Miley’s strenuous objections, Dad insists she’ll have to spend two weeks in rural Crowley’s Corners, helping on the farm owned by her no-nonsense grandma (Margo Martindale). After much initial grousing, Miley begins to warm to the task. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a cute (but entirely nonthreatening) ranch hand named Travis (Lucas Till) around, or that widower Robby Ray has caught the eye of the lovely Lorelai (Melora Hardin).

But of course, villains of the G-rated variety lurk nearby: an aggressive tabloid journalist (Peter Gunn), grasping for dirt on Hannah; and a greedy developer (Barry Bostwick) who plans to turn Crowley’s Corners into a shopping destination. (“Will there be a Bloomingdale’s?” Miley asks hopefully, before realizing a mall would extinguish Crowley’s small-town charm.)

Mayhem and pratfalls ensue at the expense of these two baddies, including the old hot/mild sauce switcheroo and a couple of nips by a hungry alligator; all the hijinks are played for laughs and, while bordering on tedious, will appeal especially to younger audiences. Several pleasing musical numbers act to both advance the story and help bridge gaps, including a rousing, toe-tapping, line-dancing hoedown led by Miley in an effort to raise funds to stave off the developer. But apparently, only a concert by Hannah Montana herself — engineered by Miley, her publicist (Vanessa Williams) and Lilly — can command the kind of audience that might save the town.

An 11th-hour identity crisis has Miley/Hannah trying to figure out who she really wants to be, and settling on a compromise that should ultimately satisfy her fans. The same is certainly true of the pic, a goofily endearing romp that might even lasso a few new fans.

Tech values are fine; lensing by David Hennings complements colorful production design credited to Caroline Hanania.

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Production: A Walt Disney Pictures release and presentation of a Millar/Gough Ink production. Produced by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar. Executive producers, David Blocker, Michael Poryes, Steve Peterman. Co-producer, Billy Ray Cyrus. Directed by Peter Chelsom. Screenplay, Dan Berendsen, based on characters created by Michael Poryes, Rich Correll, Barry O'Brien.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), David Hennings; editor, David Moritz; music, John Debney; production designer, Caroline Hanania; art director, Elliott Glick; set decorator, Marthe Pineau; costume designer, Christopher Lawrence; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Glen Trew; supervising sound editor, Todd Toon; re-recording mixers, Patrick Cyccone, Myron Nettinga; visual effects supervisor, John Fragomeni; visual effects, Asylum Visual Effects; stunt coordinator, Steve Hart; assistant director, James Alan Hensz; casting, Lisa Beach, Sarah Katzman. Reviewed at El Capitan Theater, Los Angeles, April 6, 2009. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: Hannah/Miley - Miley Cyrus Robby Ray - Billy Ray Cyrus Lilly - Emily Osment Jackson - Jason Earles Oliver - Mitchel Musso Travis Brody - Lucas Till Vita - Vanessa Williams Ruby - Margo Martindale Oswald Granger - Peter Gunn Lorelai - Melora Hardin Mr. Bradley - Barry Bostwick

More Film

  • Best Picture - 'Green Book'91st Annual

    Film vs TV? In Truth, They've Been Married for 70 Years

    In a prescient Variety column in 1978, reporter Jim Harwood talked about the blurring distinction (artistic and technical) between film and television. He wrote: “Is a ‘motion picture’ any less of an accomplishment if it’s beamed from Hollywood directly to a wall-sized screen in somebody’s home instead of being hauled in cans to something called [...]

  • Miss Americana Taylor Swift

    17 Buzziest Movies at Sundance, From Taylor Swift to Gloria Steinem

    Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a market for independent movies and a place to discover new talent — it’s also a barometer of current moods. In 2020, an election year, it’s not always easy to separate politics from art — and maybe it shouldn’t be, not at Sundance. Hillary Clinton will visit Park City to [...]

  • Emma Tillinger Koskoff

    'Irishman' Producer on Mega-Production Schedule: 'It Was Pretty Insane'

    The numbers for “The Irishman” are staggering: 108 shooting days, 117 locations, 319 scenes, 160 actors, in a story spanning 50 years. “I must say, it was no small feat,” laughs Emma Tillinger Koskoff, who is Oscar-nominated for the film, as well as for “Joker.” “Irishman” is the story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) [...]

  • Richard Curtis

    Wealthy Celebrities Call For Higher Taxes in Open Letter From World Economic Forum

    A group of wealthy celebrities and business people have signed an open letter calling on fellow billionaires and millionaires around the globe to support tax increases in an effort to alleviate growing economic disparity. Released on Thursday to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the letter states: “There are two kinds of [...]

  • Bombshell Movie

    Filmmakers Work to Reframe the 'Male Gaze'

    In the opening shot of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003), Scarlett Johansson is lying on a bed, back to the camera, shown in partial view, wearing underpants. In Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) a banged-up Ryan Gosling stares up at a bone-thin, enormous nude projection of a woman. More recently, Jay Roach’s “Bombshell” [...]

  • Actress Annabella Sciorra (R) arrives to

    Time's Up Lauds Accusers Testifying at Weinstein Trial: 'We Are In Awe of These Women'

    Time’s Up, the anti-sexual harassment advocacy group launched by Hollywood celebrities, commended the women taking the stand at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial, which is currently underway in New York City. The group released a statement on Thursday morning, shortly ahead of the day in court, which is expected to see testimony from “The Sopranos” [...]

  • Syd Mead Concept Design 1986 Aliens

    Syd Mead Designed the Future of Science Fiction Films

    The spinner police car in 1982’s “Blade Runner,” the light cycles of “Tron,” “futuristic Las Vegas” in “Blade Runner 2049” and the “USS Sulaco” in “Aliens” are indelible images of cinema, all from the imagination of the late Syd Mead, who died last month at the age of 86. You might not be aware of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content