That Thing You Do!

1996, Movie, PG, 110 mins

Review

THAT THING YOU DO!
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A barely there-tale of rock 'n' roll dreams, driven by the infectious title tune. The year is 1964, and the Oneders (that's one-ders) are a quartet of clean-cut youngsters from Erie, PA, who just want to rock `n' roll all night. Lead singer Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech) pens a soulful little ditty called "That Thing You Do!" Replacement drummer Guy (Tom Everett Scott) picks up the pace until it's something you can dance to. Play-Tone record executive Mr. White (Tom Hanks) offers them a contract, and suddenly the renamed Wonders are heading straight for the top of the pop charts. Hanks' directing debut is a sugary nostalgia fix for early-'60s pop-culture junkies. It's so bright (even when it means to be serious) and bubbly that it seems mean to point out that it isn't really about anything -- except how cool sharkskin suits and Capri pants are. Hanks does an amusingly sly turn as Mr. White, and gets excellent performances from his cast: Schaech nails the vain, self-centered Jimmy, and Patterson -- who bears a striking resemblance to his director -- is an engaging leading man masquerading as a goofball. But the star of the ensemble piece is Steve Zahn, who plays lead guitarist Lenny as a guileless rogue with a million dollar smile. leave a comment

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