A Walk to Remember

2002, PG, 100 min. Directed by Adam Shankman. Starring Matt Lutz, Jonathan Parks Jordan, Paz De La Huerta, Al Thompson, Clayne Crawford, Lauren German, Daryl Hannah, Peter Coyote, Shane West, Mandy Moore.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Jan. 25, 2002

A Walk to Remember

Based on a Nicholas Sparks' novel, A Walk to Remember starts out gloriously, with the title credits pounding out over the Breeders' “Cannonball” and its infectious opening riff that never fails to get the blood pumping. Who knew that would be the highlight to this wretched teen dramedy, which could very well be scientifically proven to stop blood flow to the brain? A Walk to Remember carts out a piddling, tired tale of mismatched young lovers: Jamie (Moore), the sweet daughter of a preacher man, and a “misunderstood” angerball named Landon Carter (West). He runs the cool crowd; she sits at the geek table. He lands in probation and has to do time in the school play (This is punishment? What happened to in-school suspension?); she coaches him in how to find his inner actor. He falls in love because she has a good heart and a nice voice; she sings -- because the plot is contrived in such a way to allow scenes for Mandy Moore to sing, because Mandy Moore happens to be a pop singer. (Think Britney Spears, only legitimately virginal.) They end up all gushy in love, which isn't giving anything away, because we've only reached the halfway point in the film. And that's when A Walk to Remember takes the giant leap from your run-of-the-mill mediocrity into an alternative universe of awfulness. Narrative logic is tossed out the window, as is structure, pacing, and any last scraps of serviceable dialogue. It's like the filmmakers suddenly hit the fast-forward button and the action begins skipping maniacally from one manhandling sob stop to the next. (You can almost see the checklist: “Cancer?” “Check!” “Moody, gloomy staring at the ocean and questioning God?” “Check!” “Bedside confessions?” “Check!” “Last-minute redemption?” “Check!”) It's all so ridiculously bad, it's impossible to keep from giggling -- sometimes guffawing -- at the giant sucking sound up on the screen. To Moore's credit, she surprisingly does not suck. Actually, she's bunny-rabbit cute, and acts circles around the rest of the cast, which happens to include decently regarded actors like Peter Coyote, who has all the appeal of room-temperature butterscotch pudding here, and Daryl Hannah, who looks like she's just come off an eight-year bender. Teen Beat heartthrob Shane West (ABC's Once and Again) is an atrocity, veering wildly from sulk to scowl to sneer throughout, and should not be allowed to make any more movies ever again. Nor should screenwriter Karen Janszen, at least not until she knows how to write characters who don't come off like idiots. Is that too much to ask? Probably. In the meantime, I'll settle for a fast forgetting of A Walk to Remember.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Adam Shankman Films
What Men Want
Because we needed a remake of What Women Want, apparently

Steve Davis, Feb. 15, 2019

Rock of Ages
Tom Cruise playing a dissolute rock god is the main attraction of this jukebox musical.

Marjorie Baumgarten, June 15, 2012

More by Kimberley Jones
Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci Headline This Year's 100% Virtual Texas Tribune Festival
Programming includes Ted Cruz and Lincoln Project mischiefmakers

Aug. 11, 2020

We Have an Issue: The News Is Always Breaking
We Have an Issue: The News Is Always Breaking
It’s our Back to School issue... but what does “Back to School” even mean in pandemic time?

Aug. 7, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

A Walk to Remember, Adam Shankman, Matt Lutz, Jonathan Parks Jordan, Paz De La Huerta, Al Thompson, Clayne Crawford, Lauren German, Daryl Hannah, Peter Coyote, Shane West, Mandy Moore

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle