Mandy Moore teaches that abstinence can make the heart grow fonder
By Emma Kae - 25th June 2002 - Back to News
The latest in a stream of teen movies to be released in Australia, A Walk To Remember makes an almost refreshing change to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll themes of late, in a corny Christian romance.
The film is based on the best selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, but while the book may have been appropriate in it’s 1958 setting, screenwriter Karen Janszen failed to realise its total lack of suitability when converted to a modern setting without updating the Pleasantville surroundings and themes. The resulting film appears to be stuck in a confused time warp that jumps like a scratched cd from 1996 to way back when Betty Crocker was cool.
The cast is led by pop princess Mandy Moore as ‘Jamie’, a bible-toting high school nerd that dismisses popular girlie issues like fashion with a wave of her hand from within her one and only sweater. Also on-screen is fellow musician Shane West as ‘Landon’, the leader of the popular, elitist in-crowd, who inevitably falls head over heels for the school geek. How original.
The storyline borders on ridiculous, when Landon is cast as the lead in the school play opposite Jamie as Landon's punishment for invoking an initiation stunt that proved to be near-fatal for another student. How logical.
Jamie's father and local minister, warns: "He's dangerous," a description that fellow reviewer Glen Whipp considered "would make sense if West didn't look like a teen-age Matthew Perry. If this kid's dangerous, those boys from 'N Sync are wicked bad."
Despite his warning, the two fall desperately in love, and a range of (at times) sickeningly tedious romantic things occur until the audience realises the inspirational message that love, faith and happiness can be found in the most unexpected places. Aw, how sweet.
Despite the gaudy wrapping it comes in, the film, believe it or not, is not a complete waste of energy. There are a few moments (albeit few and far between) in which the film redeems itself. The relationship that develops between Jamie and Landon – despite the circumstances in which they occur - is true to life, and surprisingly involving. Unlike the regular teen movies, this couple has more invested in one another than the fear of going to the prom alone. Not that this is enough to make the two hours you suffer through the film worthwhile, but it is worth mentioning.
A warning for the weak stomached viewer, Jamie’s "golly-gee" acting technique and Ned Flanders take on life may make your stomach churn like the newest range of washing machines. A note for the impatient, if you are waiting for the film to get to the gory good bit, give up – it wont.
In short, the film proves to be neither ground-breaking, original nor overly interesting, but parents may find it useful for convincing impressionable teenage girls that abstinence can make the heart grow fonder.
Click here to see when this movie is showing at a cinema near you.
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