"The Last Song." One can only hope. OK, that's snarky. This arthritic male, who's clearly not a member of this movie's young female target audience, actually finds its star, Miley Cyrus, appealing. I also believe she has talent as a singer and she may even prove she has talent as an actress, but she won't help her cause if she keeps choosing movies that pile on every cliche in the cliche handbook as this one does.

"The Last Song." One can only hope.


OK, that's snarky. This arthritic male, who's clearly not a member of this movie's young female target audience, actually finds its star, Miley Cyrus, appealing. I also believe she has talent as a singer and she may even prove she has talent as an actress, but she won't help her cause if she keeps choosing movies that pile on every cliche in the cliche handbook as this one does.


It's almost as if the filmmakers had a cliche checklist to make sure they didn't miss any. Parents divorced, check. Teen girl angst-ridden as a result, check. Teen girl treats father with disdain, check. Teen girl initially insults and ignores the love interest, check. Love interest is introduced sans shirt to show off his hunky physique, check. Teen girl's younger brother is ridiculously cute and provides comic relief, check. Mean girls mistreat our teen girl, check. They will later see the errors of the ways, check. Teen girl breaks up with the love interest following a lame revelation, check.


And since this is a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, somebody has to die. According to the cliche handbook, it has to be somebody whose death will cause the teen girl to have a change of heart, renew playing the piano at the funeral and, most importantly, remove her nose piercing.


And the cause of death? Rickets, of course. Or maybe cancer. And do you think rain will fall after the death as if to symbolize tears? I suppose the better question here is did the filmmakers leave out any cliches.


Now, fans of Miley may not care about the film's almost total lack of originality, but discriminating moviegoers should. Miley does deserve some credit for trying to prove she's more than Hannah Montana, that she's actually growing up and out of her Disney character.


That said, I preferred the "Hannah Montana" movie to this film for the simple reason that the former gives Miley a chance to do what she does best: sing. Here, she "plays" the piano. Considering we never see her body attached to her hands while she's playing, one might assume she's not really playing the piano, though press reports have her learning to play the instrument in order to play a child prodigy. Now that's acting. With that in mind, the film's title really should be "The Last Piano Sonata," but that probably didn't wow test audiences.


As Ronnie Miller, Miley proves she can act morosely, though in the sulking department, she's no competition for the Goddess of Glum, Kristen Stewart.


The plot revolves around Ronnie's relationships with her estranged father, Steve (Greg Kinnear), and the hunky love interest, Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth, who has since become Miley's real-life love interest). Miley moves from New York with her younger brother, Jonah (Bobby Coleman), to spend the summer with Steve in Georgia. Give the scenery a thumb's-up.


So, do you think Ronnie will reconcile with Steve and find true love with Will by the time the ending credits roll? Do bears play video games in the woods?


Kinnear continues to load up his resume with diverse characters. He most recently played a loathsome bureaucrat in "The Green Zone." Here, he's a lovable dad, so lovable, in fact, you wonder why he got divorced. Kinnear is just a solid actor who deserves better material than this.


As for Hemsworth, the Australian thespian could serve as a rival to Channing Tatum in the pretty boy sweepstakes. His character shows his sensitive side by protecting baby turtles. What's not to love? Will and Ronnie do make an adorable couple.


One might be tempted to blame this movie's creativity void on the fact that it marks the debuts of director Julie Anne Robinson and co-writer Jeff Van Wie, who obviously don't want to ruffle any boa feathers here. They're making a safe, sanitized movie guaranteed to appeal to young girls who never met a romance they didn't like, no matter how bogus.


This arthritic male, however, prefers his romances to have oh, I don't know just a little romance. Speaking of which, all you young females out there, if you want to see a movie that's thoroughly charming rather than overwhelmingly maudlin, see "A Little Romance" starring a young Diane Lane. By comparison, "The Last Song" sounds like a song sung p.u.


"The Last Song stars Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Greg Kinnear and Bobby Coleman and is rated PG (for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language); 118 minutes. Directed by Julie Ann Robinson, the film opened March 31.