(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Hannah Montana: The Movie)
Doug (vo; sounding tough and determined): Goddamn right, we're gonna talk about The Hannah Montana Movie, because that's what 37-year-old men do! They talk about Hannah Montana! Like men! NO REGRETS! (Speaks normally) Okay, that's not entirely true. There's quite a bit of regret, but, surprisingly, not as much as I thought. Hannah Montana, based on the mid-2000s show I've never seen, seems to follow the double life of a girl named Miley. She turned out to be a singing worldwide phenomenon, but her father, Robby Ray, played by Miley Cyrus' dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, thinks it's unhealthy for someone so young to be in the spotlight all the time. So they create an alternate personality, because...that's much more healthy, right? That won't mess up a kid at all. In this kind of scenario, it's kind of like Clark Kent's glasses. All you need is a wig, for suddenly everyone not to recognize her at all. From that setup alone, I guess I shouldn't be surprised how this movie opens up.
Doug (vo): It's a Hannah Montana concert, and Miley can't get in to her own concert, because no one believes it's her. Yep. That's the kind of logic this film runs on. Of course, crazy antics and stunts and silliness ensue with this constantly going back and forth between normal life and celebrity...again, totally not messing this girl up at all. But when her dad gets concerned about missing her best friend's party because she was in a fight with Tyra Banks...okay, I gotta admit, that's a little funny...he takes her back to her farm home in the country to hopefully reconnect with her roots. That means no glamor, no riches, no press, no Hannah. But apparently, this tabloid reporter is following her to get some dirt on her because...her getting in a fight with Tyra Banks wasn't enough...so he hunts her down to find out some secrets because the magazine already has the cover ready, they just need to fill it with a story. Again, that's a little funny.
Doug (vo): What isn't so funny is every stock cliche that usually goes along with this idea. She constantly has to go back and forth between being Hannah and being Miley, and what a coincidence, there's a big get-together where she has to either go on a date with this boy she likes, or she has to stop this big, bad mall from being set up that's gonna destroy her hometown, and, well, she can't go to both and...can't call the boyfriend to push the time back for some reason, so she has to run back and forth, changing outfits and wigs, and...oh, God, this is dumb.
(Various clips focusing on Miley's experiences in Tennessee, as well as the musical numbers, are shown)
Doug (vo): So, yeah, this film's written bad, like, really, really bad. But, surprisingly, it's not as horrible as you would think. Maybe because this was a theatrical release, there's a little bit more time to work things out. Because of that, the performances seem rather genuine, the pacing is pretty good, the slapstick isn't too over-the-top, there's not a ton of stupid sound effects, it's...how do I put it...not like a run-of-the-mill Disney Channel movie. A lot of the film is just her being on the farm, and connecting with her dad, and connecting with this new boyfriend, and her family, and trying to find herself, and...yeah, I know that all sounds a little lame, but if it's done well, it's done well. Don't get me wrong. There's plenty of corny moments, but there's also a lot of silent moments, too. And even when song numbers do pop up, it doesn't seem out of nowhere or too distracting, it kind of fits in the feel of the rest of the movie. Yeah, she sounds a little auto-tuned and the instruments a little too professional for the settings half the time, but it's not like Camp Rock where suddenly, there's a musical number. It's not like Jem and the Holograms where suddenly, everyone sounds like it's not them singing at all, it just sounds so incredibly fake. It's just the right balance of a little corny, but kind of nice, too. Which is kind of a good way to sum up this movie, despite it being written terribly.
(A scene showing Travis discovering that Miley is Hannah Montana is shown)
Doug (vo): For example, during the scene where she has to go back and forth between restaurants during the date and her big get-together with the mayor, the script calls for her to be changing in a revolving door, and then she runs into the boyfriend. Well, that's just run-of-the-mill stupid. But here, there's kind of nice music, and it's in slow-mo, and she sees this little kid who recognizes her first, and she doesn't know how to react, and suddenly, she comes across the boyfriend who sees her, and all of a sudden, everything is hitting her at the same time it's hitting him, and you see both their reactions, and it's actually a very interesting scene. It took a very silly moment and made it surprisingly reflective. Slowing things down, seeing her go in a circle while also seeing her own reflection can actually be kind of deep, but again, for a Hannah Montana movie.
Doug (vo): This is still a Disney movie selling a Disney pop star based on a Disney Channel product. But as those go, I can't say it's really bad. I can't say it's good either, but it's definitely better than it has any right to be. I like that it took its time, I like that there's quieter moments, I like that it focused on relationships, I like it's not all about the glam and celebrity, in fact, the majority isn't even about that. A lot of it's just kind of chilling in farm land, getting to know these unique characters. Does it have a lot of Disney Channel movie cliches? Yes. And do I wish it didn't? Hell, yes. But at the same time, they're not done as bad as you would expect them to be. I feel like the age group this was made for could watch it okay, and even get a self-reflecting, albeit corny, journey out of it. And people that grew up with it can kind of look back and laugh at, "Oh, yeah, the wig is supposed to fool everybody. Oh, yeah, everyone at this concert at the end is supposed to just be quiet and not reveal her secret." I guess after seeing so many horrible movies about bands based around kids like Cheetah Girls and the Camp Rock movies, I don't really see this as that offensive. If you don't like Hannah Montana and you're looking for things wrong with it, you'll get a buttload. But if you're a kid and like the show, or even nostalgic and want to take a happy look back, this is a fond enough memory.
(The film's final scene, showing Miley, as Hannah, performing her final concert at Tennessee while beginning to depart on a truck, is shown)