Photo: Sam Emerson / McClatchy Newspapers
Sometimes, being a movie critic takes you places you never thought you’d go. I wish I was talking about glamorous premieres , but I’m thinking more of screenings, at local multiplexes, of movies I’d otherwise never see. Sometimes it’s ultimately helpful (would I know who Steve-O was on “Dancing with the Stars” if I hadn’t sat through every excruciating minute of “Jackass Number Two”?); sometimes, well, it’s a job.
Since I have no grade-school girls at my house, the “Hannah Montana” phenomenon had passed over me; I know Miley Cyrus as that fairly annoying kid who turns up overdressed at red-carpet events (hey, I’ll forgive her; isn’t she 16 or something? God knows what I would have worn to the Oscars at that age) and acts all sassy to interviewers. But to the little girls who flocked to last night’s screening, she’s something else. Though it wasn’t the biggest crowd I’ve seen at a preview screening, it was certainly the largest concentration of maybe 7- to 11-year-old girls I’ve been part of since, maybe “The Princess Diaries.” I enjoyed eavesdropping on a group behind me, whose ringleader seemed to be a baseball-capped girl named Dakota (who, in the grand tradition of kid movie screenings, had fun making rude noises through her rolled-up promo poster). And I noted a surreal life-imitates-art moment: A very small girl in front of me was wearing a Hannah Montana T-shirt — identical to one worn by a very small girl in the movie itself.
My guest expert ( a colleague’s almost-11-year-old daughter) filled me on on “Hannah Montana” — essentially, Miley Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, who is a totally normal kid who leads a double life as pop star Hannah Montana. Nobody at school or anyplace else knows that Miley is Hannah, because she WEARS A WIG. Right. No answer was available to the all-important question of when Miley/Hannah gets her homework done, what with all the time taken up with leading a double life. Anyway, all the girls at the screening, in their sparkly T-shirts and bouncy ponytails, seemed to be having a good time, swaying along with the concert scenes and applauding at the end. I think, if I were 10, that I would have loved this movie, and especially loved seeing it with a group of my friends and lots of popcorn. As a grownup, though, I felt like I was the one leading the double life; slipping into something that wasn’t meant for me. Like a wig, maybe.
April 8, 2009 at 8:32 AM