×

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

  • Hui He

    RAI Com Takes World Sales on Italy/China Doc About Star Soprano Hui He (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italy’s RAI Com has taken world sales on high-profile documentary “Hui He, the Soprano From the Silk Road,” which is about the personal and artistic journey of one of the world’s leading sopranos and also marks a milestone Italian-Chinese co-production. Hui He was born and trained as a singer in the Chinese city of Xi’an, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content