Teenagers are disgusting, or so director Adam Shankman would have us believe. Landon (Shane West) is a long way from Jesus, doing Rebel Without a Cause at the local reservoir with the bad kids. They’re bad because they swagger, use Adobe Photoshop to embarrass the nerds and have taken a token black man into their circle (see the film’s special education classes for all other geometry-challenged minorities). Good girl Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of a preacher man. Jamie’s affliction (the spiritual one, not the other one) comes with a price: she dresses like your grandmother, wears her seatbelt, loves the Holy Bible and sounds an awful lot like God’s TRL spokeswoman (“What about forgiveness?”). Jamie and Landon snag lead roles in the high school play: he as a Bogart cassanova, she as the “mysterious club singer” (Stevie Nicks meets Lee Grant from Mulholland Drive). A stage kiss confuses and soon Jamie and Landon find themselves taking A Walk to Remember. No, Jamie doesn’t begin to dress better but Landon learns the meaning of tolerance (for cashmere sweaters, his absent father and the word “ergo”). As camp and sermon, the film is shamelessly undercooked. Moore and West have chemistry but with the Christian-speak kept on the slow burner, Walk to Remember is just an oh-so-cute teen rendition of a really bad (read: really great) Meredith Baxter Birney disease movie-of-the-week.
Warner Bros. presents A Walk to Rememeber in its original 2.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The transfer is serviceable (blacks are solid and flesh tones are accurate) though night scenes are tragically grainy. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is on the flat side though the inclusion of an alternate French surround track compensates for the low-end dynamic rage through modes of camp.
Included here are two commentary tracks: one by stars Mandy Moore and Shane West and director Adam Shankman, the other by novelist Nicholas Sparks and screenwriter Karen Janszen. The former is fun to listen to if only because the trio sounds like cheerleaders browsing through a high school yearbook. Shankman is generous with his factoids (the "Dawson's Creek" set, Daryl Hannah's pink hair), which should keep fans of the film engaged. Sparks and Janszen boringly discuss the book's transition from novel to silver screen, ruminating on the film's more obvious obsession with faith and redemption. Also included here is the music video for Mandy Moore's "Cry" and the film's theatrical trailer.
For that special Christian in your life who's still trapped in the 1950s.