That Thing You Do! (1996) Re-View

Film4 saved my Sunday afternoon! I’d just finished watching something (can’t even remember what it was now) with my girlfriend cuddled up next to me when I was struck by that dilemma that seems to hit me every Sunday, especially when my girlfriend is staying – “What do we do now?”

A lot of you will go straight to the dirty minded option but that wasn’t what I meant. I didn’t want to get up and put a film in. I couldn’t be bothered to actually entertain my girlfriend in any way but because we live a fair distance apart, our time is together is pretty valuable. That means just doing “nothing” doesn’t really cut it. I’ve got to find something for us to do or at least to look at for another two hours. It’s Sunday, I don’t want to have to do anything!

Out of laziness and desperation, I began to channel-hop. I flicked through More4 and Come Dine with Me, I flicked through 90210 on E4 and then found Film4 and the perfect film for a lazy, boyfriend/girlfriend Sunday afternoon – That Thing You Do!

This is what the American Beatles would have looked like!

That Thing You Do ticks every box. For my girlfriend it had the perfect story. It’s essentially The Beatles story if The Beatles were American. It follows a pop group in the sixties from their small beginnings in their small town to joining a record company tour and having a hit single (called That Thing You Do.) The film chronicles their highs, lows and everything in between. It has an attractive lead male, a bumbling, developing romance and some catchy songs. For my girlfriend specifically, it’s set in the sixties which she loves!

For the men, it has a story that isn’t rubbish. It isn’t a cheesy story about a bands success but actually something you can imagine happening (it is practically The Beatles story.) It has some brilliant comedy, the music is decent and it stars both Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler! It does also help that one of the coolest people in it is the director, Tom Hanks!

This is enough of a reason to watch it lads…

To his credit, Tom Hanks also wrote the film too. He has pitched it perfectly. It doesn’t get bogged down in any “lessons of success” or “horrors of the music industry” tales. There isn’t a huge dose of drama or a massive amount of romance. It’s a film about a band, their success and their story. It doesn’t try to be anything else but entertaining. Considering it’s Tom Hanks first directing effort, he hits it out of the park!

Is there anything this guy can’t do?

I’m not saying it’s perfect and it certainly isn’t close to the best film I’ve ever seen. It does resemble The Beatles story very closely, from a replacement drummer in the very beginning to a segment on a show that could be called “The Ed Sullivan Show.” As long as you know this going in and your happy that what you’re watching isn’t going to be the most original and groundbreaking film you’ve ever seen, you’ll really enjoy it.

Overall, as a neutral film that has something for both men and women, this is practically perfect. It won’t top anyone’s “greatest films list” but you won’t be bored watching it either. If you’re looking for something to kill two hours on a Sunday and stop you having to get off the sofa, you could do a lot worst!

Rating 3.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Got to be better than watching a film starring these guys…


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