Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Himesh Patel, Lilly James, and Ed Sheeran
Mister Marquee Says: Get Back
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer/songwriter who gets hit by a bus and wakes up in a world where the Beetles never existed, so he passes off their catalog as his own.
Danny Boyle has a history of really, really good movies that are breathtaking and innovative. And…then there’s this. Not a bad movie by any stretch, just an entertaining, if forgettable, romantic comedy.
That being said, Himesh Patel is fantastic and almost single-handedly carries the movie. The jokes mostly land, except for Kate McKinnon’s character who is such a cartoony executive that the schtick grows old, fast. Ed Sheeran gets major props for being a good sport. The music jokes hit home, especially Jack’s floundering career as an amateur musician and the BS of the music industry.
Perhaps my biggest issue is the love story which, while well acted, is so forced and ill-fitting that it derails a story with a lot of potential. The love plot is forced into being the center of a story where it really shouldn’t be, and it just feels so unnatural and distracting. There are a million different directions this movie could have gone within the premise…and this is it? The ending is so jarringly sugar coated and tacked on that you almost wonder if it’s a dream sequence but no…that’s it.
It’s a shame that the premise isn’t explored further. Other than a bad creative note from Ed Sheeran on Hey Jude, there really wasn’t any focus on how the Beetles catalog would fare out of time. Seriously… a lot of these songs aged well and are still popular with young people today, but would they be if they were released today? How did Jack Malik get away with writing “she was just 17, and you know what I mean” in 2019 and not find himself getting hammered on Twitter? No matter how good the songs are, can you release throwback rock n roll in 2019 and get anymore than a cult following or a novelty hit?
This movie is so surface level that it’s maddening. It has a great premise and a unique position to look at the current state of music, and changing times and tastes. Instead, we get a hollow romantic comedy too timid to deviate from the formula. Instead of a bold commentary, we get a cookie cutter flick with nothing to say, albeit a well-made one.