Bestselling novelist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) and effervescent ’tween queen Miley Cyrus hook up for one of Sparks’s patented tearjerkers. Sparks also chips in as screenwriter, so he has no excuse for the messy result, and it doesn’t help that director Julie Anne Robinson works the material like a pugilist throwing emotional kidney punches.
Before the young lovers can even click, arson, divorce, paternal resentment, shoplifting, and a clutch of imperiled sea turtle eggs have clogged the narrative. Ronnie (Cyrus) and her brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) trek to the Georgia seacoast to spend the summer with their dad (Greg Kinnear), and the family tension rises when a local stud (Liam Hemsworth) becomes smitten with the aloof Ronnie after spilling a milkshake on her.
All the maudlin contrivance aside, it’s not such a bad film: Cyrus shows a range beyond her age, and Kinnear evinces a tender sincerity.