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April 20, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-20

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8A - Monday, April 20, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

8A - Monday, April 20, 2009 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

From Page 5A
starlet) getntoo serious or too real. While she may strug-
gle with "tough" decisions, like whether to go forward
with her Hannah duties or keep a dinner date with a
cutie cowboy - allowing for a montage in which Cyrus
changes clothing multiple times and annoyingly ruins
everyone's meal - there's little question everything
will work out in the end.
Miley will have her pink bedaxzled cake and eat it
too. Lest things get too intense, most of the supporting
characters in the film serve as mere comic foils, play-
ing for cheap laughs regarding runaway ferrets and
bottom-biting alligators. Miley may play pretend when
she is Hannah Montana, but her "home life" is hardly
more realistic.
'The film's only saving grace is Vanessa Williams
(TV's "Ugly Betty"), who plays into the movie's campy
vibe, projecting some fun into her portrayal of Han-
nah's savvy manager. Her snark is the only real humor
found in the film apart from the hilarious befuddled
faces of confused extras. Cyrus herself, while an OK
singer and actrels,is unsurprisinglyunlikable as Miley.
She acts spoiled and selfish, but, in the end, says sorry
and all is forgiven - hardly a true-to-life example of
teenage rebellion.
The film tries hard to tell audiences that Cyrus is a
relatable example of teenage life. Perhaps one just has
to walk a mile in her jeweled cowboy boots, butit's hard
to find a connection between the fantasy world of Han-
nah Montana and the real drama teens face. She might
just be a product of a more cosmetic generation of teen
idols who celebrate glitz over substance, but the adults
behind the production should have knownbetter.
From Page 5A
one-two punch of "Tokyo" and "Look to the East," is
enough to keep listeners pleasantly on edge through-
out the first half of the album. Fortunately, the first
side packs enough firepower to keep the album afloat,
its particular strength countering the lackluster songs
that round out the disc.
Naturally, the album's quieter, duller moments are
revealed on its second half, after the sugar high of the
first has worn off. Here, one of the major hurdles of
pop records is revealed: How can a record keep listen-
ers interested throughout? Lerner has no answer. The
weaker songs decorating the album's second side feel
half-formed and uninspired. Tracks like "Great Lakes"
and "Calling all Doctors" seem hollow; the melodies
don't stick nearly in the same way and are easily throw-
aways in the face of the radio-ready "Coast of Carolina"
and the '50s pop balladry of "Awkward Kisser."
Luckily, the album ends with the pleasant, albeit
anticlimactic "I Saw Lightning." It highlights Lerner's
folkier tendencies, with just an acoustic guitar accom-
panying his admittedly thin voice to reveal a naked-
ness otherwise unexplored on the rest of the album.
Though it's easy to dismiss pop songs as trite or
derivative, it's damn near impossible to pinpoint what
makes them so infectious in the first place. The sound
is so much like Death Cab that Chris Walla may as well
have written half of these songs himself. Still, there's
no doubt that Michael Lerner brings a quality and
a knack for the pop craft all his own. Hopefully, the
future finds Lerner's Telekinesis moniker carving out
its own niche in the modern power-pop landscape -
but surrounded by such good company, he may never
need to.



uct doesn't sell well, he's happy with his current life
PITCHMEN and insists that - even if he were a millionaire - he'd
From Page 5A never move out of his trailer park.
Discovery knows that infomercials have a dirty
reputation and turns up the pathos to hide the fact
that these guys are no better than the slime on Wall that these commercials trick people into paying
Street - that is, they only care about getting rich ' $19.99 for a worthless piece of junk. Though a noble
quick off some crazy money-making scheme. With effort is made to conceal the truth, it's often easy to
the state of the economy and America's problem see right through their rotten tactics.
with over-consumption, it's hard not to wonder if Infomercial products and their endorsers have
this "industry" is merely taking advantage of naive somehow become a staple in pop culture. Further,
people. In "Pitchmen," however, Mays and Sullivan Mays has become the center of an odd American
do their best to refute that notion by emphasizing fixation. YouTube is full of infomercial parodies and
how their products improve lives, which they do by videos of him doing everything from ordering break-
showing the people behind the inventions. fast at a drive-thru window to simply falling down.
It's hard not to root for the inventor of the GPS With this bizarre fascination, "Pitchmen" is sure to
Pal, an old Texan who lives alone. Though his prod- satisfy curiosity - and it's absolutely free!

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