Oct 9, 1996
"That Thing You Do" is like a box of chocolates: mostly sweet,
sometimes mushy, and not good for you as a steady diet. Why the Forrest
Gump analogy? Because first-time director Tom Hanks has a supporting role
in this film, a reward for being not just a two-time Oscar winner but also
being big box office. He even gets to bring his old 'Bosom Buddies' pal
Peter Scolari into the production as the man who introduces The Wonders
in their first TV appearance. The Wonders are the band at the center of
this picture. It's the sixties. Music is changing and new acts come out
of nowhere, including Erie, Pennsylvania. Tom Everett Scott, who has that
Tom Hanks look to him, is the drummer who takes a ballad from the local
college talent show and turns it into a catchy dance hit. The omnipresent
Liv Tyler is the lead singer's loyal girlfriend. Johnathon Schaech, the
lead singer, looks like he could be Peter Gallagher's brother but is probably
best remembered as Winona Ryder's hunky love interest in "How To Make
An American Quilt". Comedy is provided by Steve Zahn as Lenny, the
guy who comes on to every girl. Then there is the bass player. He is never
given a name, but Ethan Embry is well known in Hollywood as the kid in "Defending
Your Life" and in "Dutch" before becoming the teen in "Empire
Records" with Liv Tyler and in "White Squall" with Jeff Bridges.
The rise of the Wonders is fun to watch, doesn't require a lot of probing
analysis, and should make a great date movie, especially for Boomers. And
everyone will enjoy the cameos by Chris Isaak, Rita Wilson, and Kevin Pollak.
The best cameo is the one you might miss: Academy Award-winning director
Jonathan Demme (one of the producers) as the director of the beach movie
the Wonders get stuck playing for when they hit LA.
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