That Thing You Do

Bomb Rating: 

It took Tom Hanks an incredible amount of time and effort to become the overrated Oscar-award winning actor he is today. Consequently, it should be no surprise that his movie turns out to be the "Bosom Buddies" of writing and directorial debuts. For God's sake, Peter Scolari is in the thing. If that's not shitting where you eat, I don't know what is.

"That Thing You Do" is solid proof that super-celebrities like Hanks don't get out enough. In Hollywood, when you achieve such stature, studio executives will lick the dirt out from between your toes before they'll tell you that your pet project sucks horse weenie. If Hanks were just some common bum trying to pitch his stupid musical group film, any right-minded producer would have shot back, "Hey, pal. You ever seen 'The Commitments'? This has already been done!" followed by "Now get the f!@# out of my office!"

Indeed, watching "That Thing You Do" is like eating stale food. You know the stuff was probably enjoyable at one time, but now it just tastes vaguely of mold and decay. The film is no more than the story of four guys (Tom Everett Scott, Jonathon Schaech, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry) who form a band, have a hit and then quickly fall apart. "Wow!" you're no doubt saying. "Tom Hanks actually had the creative inspiration to write such a story? Holy Marie Curie! Give the man some chemicals and stand back -- maybe he can find a cure for cancer!"

A good director might have saved Hanks' sickly screenplay, but the all-powerful Tom casts himself in that role as well. The result is a movie with all the energy of a wake. If anybody can find a film with more cutaway shots you'll win Mr. Cranky's first annual "Get a Life, You Loser" award. Hanks has no idea what to do with the camera and his protagonists are so uninteresting that his cinematic eye wanders around like a male cat looking for a place to spray. Unfortunately, it's the audience that gets peed on.

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