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A Walk to Remember: Mandy Moore's film to forget comes to Netflix

A Walk to Remember: Mandy Moore’s film to forget comes to Netflix

A Walk to Remember (PG, 101mins) Directed by Adam Shankman **

Although they have known each other since first grade, Landon Carter (Shane West) and Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) are from different ends of the high-school social spectrum.

He is a hip, popular, Jedi master of talking bull, while she is a cardi-wearing, bible-toting, straight-laced minister’s daughter, more concerned with astronomy and good grades than partying.

But when an alcohol-fuelled, water-based prank goes horribly wrong, Landon finds himself drawn into Jamie’s world of legitimate extra-curricular activities and quiet reflection.

Despite her warnings not to fall in love with her, Landon lands hard, but still faces the twin obstacles of both her strict father and his image-conscious friends, if he is to continue seeing her.

Mandy Moore plays Jamie Sullivan in A Walk to Remember.

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Mandy Moore plays Jamie Sullivan in A Walk to Remember.

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Based on prolific romance writer Nicholas Spark’s 1999 novel, A Walk to Remember is a promising three-hankie tale, marred by clichés, leaps in logic and horrific over-simplifications, which can be blamed both on the source novel and director Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner).

Rather than being expelled for his on-site drinking, which almost leads to tragedy, Landon is inexplicably ordered to help tutor disadvantaged students and given the lead in the school play.

Of course, Jamie is not only the star of that play, but she also wrote the music and lyrics (allowing Moore, then best-known as a Britney Spears-esque pop-star, that all-important chance to showcase her lungs).

Then, just as the story is beginning to pick up, it unexpectedly veers straight into TV-movie territory from where it never really recovers.

Based on prolific romance writer Nicholas Spark's 1999 novel, A Walk to Remember is a promising three-hankie tale, marred by clichés, leaps in logic and horrific over-simplifications

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Based on prolific romance writer Nicholas Spark’s 1999 novel, A Walk to Remember is a promising three-hankie tale, marred by clichés, leaps in logic and horrific over-simplifications

Continuity issues abound, with Landon acquiring crutches weeks after his accident and wardrobe problems being particularly noticeable.

Part of this could be down to the 36 cuts made to reduce the censorship rating, including the obvious overdubbing of some M-rated language.

Throw in West’s “Rebel Without a Clue”, sets straight from Dawson’s Creek (no, really) and Daryl Hannah in a fright-wig, and A Walk to Remember looks like a movie heading down a short path to oblivion.

However, there is a bright spot, and surprisingly (although, as This is Us has shown over the past few years, she has eventually become a brilliant actor), it’s Moore.

We all know how Britney failed to ignite in Crossroads, Maria Carey erased any shine off Glitter and Madonna’s movie career was Swept Away around the same time in the early noughties, but Moore proves here that there are some singers from that period who can act (later Golden Globe and Emmy nominations providing subsequent testament).

What’s particularly sad about A Walk to Remember is that Mandy Moore’s performance is undermined by a shoddy script and some less-than-impressive production values.

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What’s particularly sad about A Walk to Remember is that Mandy Moore’s performance is undermined by a shoddy script and some less-than-impressive production values.

Sure, she gets to warble the obligatory song (with the help of some unlikely studio quality sound at both her high school and a church), but it’s her touching portrayal of a young girl resistant to peer pressure, unswerving in her faith, yet open to the prospect of change that will win her a new audience, and might have some breaking out the tissues.

What is sad is that such a performance, is undermined by a shoddy script and some less-than-impressive production values.

A Walk to Remember – a film, bar Moore, to forget.

A Walk to Remember is now available to stream on Netflix.

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