"Is this the scene where the guy with the chainsaw comes out of the trees and cuts us up," asks teen rebel Miley Cyrus when her bloke's jeep breaks down in the woods.
After an hour or so in the drab company of Miley's sullen adolescent while dodging the glare from hunky Liam Hemsworth's teeth, that's exactly what you want to happen.
Now nobody wants anything nasty to happen to the multi-millionaire daughter of the man who gifted the world Achy Breaky Heart but this sobbing blancmange of misery really pushes its luck.
You could accept a romantic drama chronicling the strained relationship between Cyrus' bolshie Ronnie and her decent-but-distant dad Steve (Kinnear) as a serious attempt to illustrate the fractures of a broken home.
Or you could recoil in horror at novelist Nicholas Sparks' - truly American literature's top-selling funeral director - cynical manipulation of bereavement as a simplistic plot device.
Either way, you're left with a formulaic narrative machine-tooled to wring as many tears as possible from a girly audience whose weepy dehydration could result in toxic shock.
For those prepared to brave this vale of tears, Ronnie turns up at Steve's idyllic beach house with all sorts of baggage, particularly her anger at pop splitting up with mom.
To add a bit of colour she's been nabbed shoplifting back home in New York and harbours an attitood so deeply entrenched that she's turned down a place at the prestigious Juilliard school of music.
However, a couple of days in the sun dissing dad, saving turtle eggs and falling for the charms of Hemsworth's volleyball-playing mechanic signal a volte face.
Everything's sweet. She's happy, Hemsworth's happy, her kid brother is happy helping newly-happy dad build stained glass windows. It seems the only person who isn't happy is the Grim Reaper...and that's about to change.
No doubt this will play well with Sparks' established audience but even they must be growing weary with a plotline which is little more than a morbid variation on a theme.
Death can't come quickly enough.