Review: A Walk to Remember

Teenagers are disgusting, or so director Adam Shankman would have us believe.

A Walk to Remember
Photo: Warner Bros.

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.

 Cast: Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote, Al Thompson, Daryl Hannah, Lauren German, Clayne Crawford, Jonathan Park Jordan, Paz de la Huerta  Director: Adam Shankman  Screenwriter: Karen Janszen  Distributor: Warner Bros.  Running Time: 100 min  Rating: PG  Year: 2002  Buy: Video, Soundtrack, Book

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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