Most Critics Think Miley's “Song” is Out of Tune

Taking stock of Miley Cyrus' big-screen talents

Teen singing superstar Miley Cyrus, famed for her role as TV's "Hannah Montana," says she wants to make the leap into big-screen acting with her starring role in "The Last Song" seen as her first real leap in that direction. But not all critics think she hits the right notes.

Some critics liked Cyrus...
Works easily with the pros

“Her acting is unaffected, she can play serious, and she works easily with a pro like (Greg) Kinnear, whose light comedy skills are considerable and undervalued. She even seems sincere in the face of a plot so blatantly contrived it seems like an after-school special.”  —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Smiley Miley
On the big screen, just as on TV, her smile works better than her pout (why do you think her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, dubbed her Smiley Miley?). She's believable as Ronnie partly because she, too, is 17 and at a crossroads in her life.”    —Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Others, well, didn't...
Two moves
“At present, the 17-year-old Cyrus has an undeniable presence, but her dramatic abilities largely consist of two moves — scrunching up her face and staring wistfully into the distance.”    —Glenn Whipp, AP

No actress
“I hesitate to even use the word "actress," because what Cyrus projects here is an unvarnished haughtiness that's wholly disconnected from the troubled-but-feisty character she's supposed to be playing. Even as poor pops Kinnear suffers nobly for the camera, Cyrus barrels through the movie as if she were the only person in it.”    —Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

Just showing up
The supposed conflict that emerges between them ... serves mostly to highlight the contrivance of their bond and Cyrus’s impatience with the whole process of becoming a movie star. Doesn’t she just have to show up? And maybe bark the name of the character she’s talking to once a sentence?”    —Michelle Orange, Movieline

Bad, bad, bad
“...Did anybody have her do a screen test? And if she did one, did anyone take the dollar signs away from their eyes long enough to actually see it? Because the bottom line here is that Cyrus is ghastly in 'The Last Song,' bad not just in one or two ways, but in all kinds of ways.”    —Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Acting is beyond her
“...Acting, for the moment at least, seems almost entirely beyond her. In 'The Last Song' she pouts, slouches, storms in and out of rooms and occasionally cracks a snaggle-toothed smile, but most of the time she seems to be mugging for the camera, play-acting rather than exploring the motives and feelings of her character.”    —A.O. Scott, New York Times 

Inches from self-parody
In an alternate world a clean-and-focused Lindsay Lohan would play Ronnie. Instead we get Cyrus, the worst movie star since Dane Cook. Her emotional range includes happy and mad and nothing in between. 'The Last Song' is inches from self-parody and never moving, both because it's shamelessly corny and totally unconvincing. Not to mention grating: When Will tells Ronnie, 'You're not like the other girls,' you expect him to add, 'You're much more annoying.' ” —Matt Pais, Metromix

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