How to make a teen movie with a PG-rating? Take two attractive, young actors (one, a pop star), mix in a cornball adolescent love story with a large dose of sentimental preservative, add the requisite spiritual/religious component to stabilize, throw in a few songs performed by pop star and female lead (Mandy Moore), and finally, include a pinch of bittersweet ending with a message attached. Blend thoroughly and voilà, the proof is in the pudding. Or not.
Director Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner) tries hard to deliver a ‘meaningful’ teen vehicle based on a popular bestseller novel, but misses the mark, instead offering us a boring mélange of film/music career-boosting for Moore (her debut was The Princess Diaries), and romantic lead exposure for Shane West (Get Over It, TV’s once and Again).
The only interesting element was the inclusion of a plain-Janed Daryl Hannah, testing out the mother-role thing in this demographically-challenged movie snore. Who knows, maybe the pre-teen set is still nave enough to ingest this one·