That Thing You Do!

That Thing You Do!, Tom Hanks' sprightly little sock-hop of a movie, is cute, innocent, and very, very slight. The story of four unpretentious lads from Pennsylvania who rise to the top of the pops in 1964 with an up-tempo signature tune, That Thing You Do! is a cleanly made, deliberately simple little diversion. In fact, its simplicity was wrought with a iron fist; Hanks seems determined to jackhammer into moviegoers' skulls a bright, sunny New Frontier, where the boys are lovable lugs, the girls are dutifully bouffanted, and black people are savvy and supportive. Hanks nicely lampoons the smug, stagnant, assembly-line attitude of the American pop-music establishment of the time, but it's clear that Hanks intends his Boomer-pleasing nostalgia to be strictly of the declawed variety. As a result, little sticks with the viewer after the end credits roll, with the possible exception of Johnathon Schaech's hair. Even the title song comes up short; intended to possess Beatles-esque pop hooks, it sounds as over-processed as the Happy Days theme song.

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