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A Walk to Remember

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Walk to Remember

Starring: Mandy Moore, Shane West
Director: Adam Shankman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: January 2002
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Peter Coyote, Daryl Hannah, Al Thompson, Lauren German, Clayne Crawford, Paz de la Huerta, Jonathan Parks Jordan, Matt Lutz

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

In A WALK TO REMEMBER, singer and sometimes actress Mandy Moore is an absolute sweetheart. You may remember her from THE PRINCESS DIARIES in which, as a blonde, she played the bitchy leader of the in-crowd. In a completely opposite role, this time Moore plays Jamie Sullivan, a poor, plain Jane brunette who is unpopular and proud of it.

If you suspect that it will be revealed that beneath her old sweater and lack of make-up lurks a diamond in the rough, you'd be right. And if you guess that some good looking, card-carrying member of the local high school's elite will initially ridicule and then fall in love with her, you'd be right again. Want to try to go for three for three and venture a guess about what big revelation will come mid-way through the story that changes the entire tone of the picture? Did I mention yet that Karen Janszen's script is based on the novel by MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE's Nicholas Sparks?

Actually, this little formula film is quite a bit better than you'd expect. Shane West turns in a nice performance as Landon Carter, Jamie's boyfriend, as does Peter Coyote, playing Jamie's strict preacher pop.

The movie makes many needless mistakes. How many high schools are so desperate to cast their plays that they would require a troublemaker to accept the leading part as an alternative to expulsion? Most schools have extremely competitive auditions. There are many other such problems with the script but to discuss them would require giving away the story's one big secret.

My favorite illogical aspect of the production is the movie's location. It occurs in a mythical accent-free small town in North Carolina. Only Peter Coyote fails to get the memo about keeping the accents to be pure newscaster. I've lived in North Carolina, and the film just rings false. Most small towns there are filled with inhabitants who have accents so thick that you can cut them with a knife. Imagine setting a movie in Brooklyn and forgetting about the accents? The only sops the movie throws in for pseudo-authenticity are a few "Heys." This is just needlessly sloppy filmmaking. All of the above notwithstanding, Moore is a real charmer.

A WALK TO REMEMBER runs 1:42. It is rated PG for "thematic elements, language

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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