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