Hannah Montana has gone country.
Her daddy hijacked her private jet headed to some New York music awards and redirected it to Grandma's Tennessee farm so Little Miss Beverly Hills could get back to her horseback-riding roots as Smiley Miley.
To help ensure that the pop star gets the full yee-haw treatment, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and a cowboy with a crush on Miley are on board in "Hannah Montana: The Movie."
After becoming a Disney Channel and in-concert sensation, Hannah Montana is making the jump to the multiplex with a movie that isn't about making Miley Cyrus into a serious actress. Nope, "HMTM" is really just another Disney Channel flick with a bigger budget and the same old girl-meets-boy-and-kisses-him plot. (Oops, sorry, I gave that away.)
This movie is really for the 16-year-old Queen of Tween to (a) try to reposition herself musically as a pop/country act for all ages and -- spoiler alert! -- (b) test the waters for letting go of Hannah Montana by having Miley admit in public that, as every 8-year-old girl and her mother knows, she is Hannah Montana.
Here is how Hannah -- sorry, Miley -- reaches the breaking point. Grandma is trying to prevent the building of a shopping mall in Crowley Corners, Tenn., so Miley offers to have her famous friend Hannah Montana come to do a benefit concert to help the town buy the land.
Meanwhile, Miley has fallen for Gram's farmhand, an old pal from first grade, and Miley's dad (Billy Ray Cyrus, her real-life father) has fallen for Gram's "foreman," a handy single woman. These parallel love stories play out as a stressed-out Miley/Hannah goes through a revolving door -- figuratively and literally -- trying to keep her secret. In the end, her heart forces her to confess onstage at the concert and kill off Hannah, but -- remember this is Disney -- the crowd convinces her to put the wig back on.
To add a little tension and a lot of silly humor to the story, a bumbling British tabloid reporter (Peter Gunn) is stalking the star to dig up some dirt. Hannah's aggressive, tightly wound publicist (Vanessa Williams) tries to keep him at bay. Tyra Banks does a laughable cameo as herself, cat-fighting with Hannah over a pair of high heels in a Beverly Hills boutique.
Ultimately, the fan-pleasing "HMTM" and its bestselling soundtrack album (which debuted at No. 2 last week) are about building new bridges -- crossing Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts over to the Miley crowd and Miley to the country audience, especially with her "Hoedown Throwdown," a catchy line dance that Disney hopes will do for Miley Cyrus what "Achy Breaky Heart" did for Billy Ray What's-His-Name.
Jon Bream • 612-673-1719