Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual content
Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
I’m not ashamed
to admit that I shed a tear or two during “A Walk to Remember”, Mandy Moore’s
saccharine-coated, headlining debut that co-starred year-end hunk Shane West.
genetically blessed Halley Martin (
It’s a tribute to Moore’s ability to captivate an audience that the thorny narrative flows smoothly, filled as it is with such adolescent clichés as multi-generational misunderstandings (mom and daughter regularly facing off), teen crises (high-school schedule snafus, heartbreak and death), and the on-again/off-again nature of a first love. Think contemporary John Hughes from his prolific “Sixteen Candles” period.
Halley grapples with the concept of normal-equals-abnormal with a refreshing sincerity that pervades every frame. The plot pulls off a few unexpectedly dramatic kinks, adding unforeseen edge and a welcome surprise factor to the sentimental proceedings.
I admire pop-singer
Supporting cast is smart all around – Allison Janney as the quintessential jilted mom, Dylan Baker as the new man in mom’s life, and Peter Gallagher as Halley’s Peter Pan of a father. Nina Foch generates sparks as Halley’s candid to the point of demented grandma, and newcomer Ford has got it going on as the latter-day greaser with tousled, sexy looks and a core of sweetness. The young pair’s chemistry feels rock-solid and genuine.