Review: 'Midnight Sun,' Starring Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Rob Riggle

What is there to say about Midnight Sun that hasn't already been said about all movies in the very specific subgenre of "sick teen girl falls in love with romantic, devoted boy; sad things happen"? There is a sick girl. She falls in love with a romantic, devoted boy. Sad things happen. Honestly! There is nothing else to say!

But OK, fine, let's try anyway. A remake of a Japanese film from 2006 that was a sort of extended music video for its star, pop singer Yui, Midnight Sun focuses on teenager Katie (Bella Thorne), who has the rare disease xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP. She is basically allergic to the sun, meaning she spends her days cooped up inside, hovered over by her photographer father Jack (Rob Riggle), scribbling lyrics in her journal and pining over the handsome Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Desperate to breathe outside air, she sneaks out of her house at night to play her acoustic guitar, finally piquing Charlie's attention.

Do they fall in love? They sure as hell do! For weeks Katie meets Jack only at night for frenzied makeout sessions while her secret lingers over their relationship. He rents her recording time at a studio; they make dopey adorable eyes at each other. But a movie like this has a foregone conclusion, and each scene only takes you closer to the inevitable, obvious end.

Thorne is doing what she can with an underwritten, trapped-princess character, and while she goes for a little zaniness and a little slapstick humor, it doesn't really jive. (And of course, like so many "sick girls" in film, she's beautiful throughout, with only a slight thrill of danger in a scene where Katie and Charlie stay out too long, and only a more-pale lipstick shade hinting at a downward turn in her health.) And although Schwarzenegger will certainly grab some hearts (especially from teen girls who may remember his relationship with Miley Cyrus) and does the dreamy, committed boyfriend thing well, the character is also kind of absurd -- dude, you didn't realize for weeks that you never saw your girlfriend during the day? Really?

Everything is shot like and everyone is dressed like they're on a vintage '90s WB teen drama; Thorne is an okay singer but none of her songs is memorable; and the ending of the film is more of an eyeroller than a tearjerker. Midnight Sun will have a very particular audience, and you'll know if you're a member of it. If not, stay away.

Review: 1 out of 5