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Soft-hearted 'Hannah' a tween sensation

It would be easy to be hard-hearted about "Hannah Montana: The Movie."

I'm pretty sure some film critics, especially the snobbish ones who take themselves way too seriously, will do just that and tear this fun-loving, but flawed romp down. They'll point out that as a story, it barely moves from A to B-minus.

After all, it's a simple movie that's corny, corn pone and simpleton much of the way. I stopped counting Billy Ray Cyrus's Jed Clampett-like "Wee doggies!" after a couple, for instance.

This is also a movie for young girls and about a slightly older teen who happens to be a very successful singer. And parents, this is probably all your tween-ager around the house really needs to know: Even though it's a narrative tale of sorts and not a concert film as such, Miley Cyrus sings a dozen new tunes in her feature film starring debut.

The plot couldn't be less complicated. Hannah, the big L.A. singing star, has been invited to New York for a spotlight performance at the music awards. Dad (Billy Ray) has had enough of Miley's blonde ambition, however. And besides, it's her grandmother's birthday.

Miley, strong-willed and starry-eyed, gets her way and strolls into a private jet to stand up grandma. When it lands, though, it is in small-town Tennessee. Miley flips her wig a couple of times seeking her true self.

Not to worry, Hannah fans -- either in the movie audience or in the movie itself -- there's a new Miley or Hannah song around every country corner.

In fact, British director Peter Chelsom ("Shall We Dance") and screenwriter Dan Berendsen even manage to include a hip-hop country ditty titled "Hoedown Throwdown." And when Miley/Hannah tires of strumming her guitar or goofing around with puppy love (with Lucas Till as ranch hand Travis), Taylor Swift and the Rascal Flatts boys drop by to take some of the warble pressure off.

Teen sensation Cyrus may not be as accomplished as Hayley Mills or even Lindsay Lohan (both in "The Parent Trap" for different generations) were juggling two personas on a movie screen.

Cyrus, of course, has another dimension beyond movie acting going for her.

The frenzied legions of her fans will care little if she's Hannah or Miley, as long as she sings songs like the rousing "The Best of Both Worlds" and the heartfelt "me and my Daddy" ballad "Butterfly Fly Away."

Parents who escort their daughters should try to keep all grimaces out of the line of vision of their kids.

This is about their generation, Mom and Dad. Let them have a little fun.

I remember going to see Elvis Presley in his feature-film acting debut in "Love Me Tender" when I was a tweener way back in the previous century.

Wee-doggies! Now that was a movie.


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