The year's second Nicholas Sparks film unfolds much like all those before it. Girl (Miley Cyrus) meets Boy (Liam Hemsworth) along a Southern shoreline (Georgia subs for Wrightsville Beach, N.C.); their love perseveres against a backdrop of family drama; and, of course, the sound of sniffles will reverberate through the theater before the closing credits roll. Sparks' previous film adaptations, although equally schmaltzy, have benefited from competent casting and direction. Not so here, where Hemsworth's purpose appears to be distract us from Cyrus' agonizing acting. You know you're in trouble when Greg Kinnear, playing Cyrus' father, provides the film's gravitas. And, director Julie Anne Robinson arrives to her first feature on the heels of a career spent hopscotching episodic TV gigs. However, the blame ultimately lies with Sparks, whose infamous manipulative tendencies have metastasized to the point that his reputation as a simple sentimentalist is slowly giving way to that of an emotional sadist.