Recounts a fable of a pop rock band formed a year after the Beatles took America by storm in early 1964. Jazz aficionado Guy Patterson, unhappily toiling in the family appliance store, is recruited into the band the Oneders (later renamed the Wonders) after regular drummer Chad breaks his arm. After Guy injects a four/four rock beat into lead singer Jimmy's ballad, the song's undeniable pop power flings the Wonders into a brief whirlwind of success, telling the tale of many American bands who attempted to grab the brass ring of rock and roll in the wake of the British Invasion. Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Familiar tale told freshly, honestly, with appealing cast
We've sorta been down this road before: 1960s pop band makes it out of their dead-end hometown for Hollywood, but fame and fortune unravel the fun. Still, this picture has remarkable focus, careful period detail, and a lovely cast that rarely (if ever) strikes a false note. If some of the young actors sometimes seem like they're doing Tom Hanks impersonations, that's okay because director Hanks (himself a co-star) seems to know these characters inside and out--and he likes them. We in the audience are quick to respond, and even the conventional parts of the movie work because Hanks rides over clichés with verve and enthusiasm and wit. Not a raucous comedy a la "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (which is what it looked like to me in the ads), this has its share of subtle moments. There is a mean-spirited dig at the Frankie & Annette "Beach Party" flicks, and the ready-made romance at the end is sugar-coated, but "That Thing You Do!" is immensely likable. It has a huge heart. ***1/2 from ****
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