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hannah_montana_the_movie16Hannah Montana: The Movie is essentially three episodes of the Disney Channel television show (with a slightly more exotic location) stretched to reach feature film length. That means it’s either three times the fun or three times the torture depending on which side of the fence you stand on regarding the whole Miley Cyrus phenomenon.

If your son or daughter knows a dance move called “the Hawk in the Sky” chances are you already know who Miley is, but if you’ve been living on Mars for the past few years and have missed the whole Hannah Montana thing, here’s a primer. Since 2004 Miley Cyrus (daughter of Achy Breaky singer Billy Ray) has played the dual role of Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana. By day she is the average teenage school girl Miley. At night though, she’s the bedazzled pop star Hannah Montana. By keeping famous alter ego a secret she can be a pop star and still have a normal life. The show is wildly popular with kids and even has adult fans. Disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich admits to having watched every episode of the show.

The new movie follows the success of last year’s concert movie Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert which was the number one movie of its weekend, more than doubling the receipts of the number two movie, The Eye and breaking several box office records including the top score for gross revenue for a Super Bowl weekend.

The new film finds the popularity of Hannah Montana becoming almost too much for Miley Stewart (Cyrus) to bear. She fights Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes, ruins her best friend Lilly’s (Emily Osment, Haley Joel’s little sister) Sweet Sixteen party and is preoccupied all the time. When her father Robby (Billy Ray Cyrus) tricks her into taking a trip to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee she may finally get some perspective on life, love and fame. “Think of it as Hannah detox,” he says.

There is something mind-numbingly post modern about the idea of Hannah Montana: The Movie. It’s about a girl named Miley whose alter ego Hannah is the most popular teenager on the planet, played by the real life most popular teenager on the planet, named Miley. It’s like one of those M.C. Escher etchings of the hands drawing themselves.

Untangle that puzzle and you are left with an efficiently made movie that sticks to the framework of the popular television show. There’s the crazy slapstick gags, the musical numbers and, of course, a good Disney moral wrapped up in a shiny package. Imagine The Monkees except female, wholesome and without the culture jamming social parody.

Hannah Montana: The Movie probably won’t win over any new fans to the franchise but will please the kids (and their parents) who tune into the show every week.

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