Comedy/Drama: A 1960's rock and roll band finds fame and fortune as their one hit single makes its way up the charts.
Guy Patterson (TOM EVERETT SCOTT) is a beatnik drummer who, when not admiring various jazz legends, works at his father's Erie, PA appliance store in the early 1960's. When a local rock and roll group loses its drummer, the band members, Jimmy (JONATHON SCHAECH), Lenny (STEVEN ZAHN) and "the bass player" (ETHAN EMBRY), ask Guy to sit in. They have one decent song, a ballad, and when the band plays at a local talent show, Guy picks up the beat and turns the song into an instant hit. Soon, the band, the "Wonders," is a big draw at a local restaurant, and they cut a record and get a manager. He introduces them to Mr. White (TOM HANKS) of Play Tone Records, who wants to take them, and Jimmy's girlfriend, Fay (LIV TYLOR), on a nationwide state fair tour. Their single takes off and soon they're the next hottest thing to the Beatles. But as their fame and fortune grows, so do their differences and their future becomes uncertain.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Tom Hanks is quite the draw now, but he's just a minor character here and none of the other actors will be a draw to kids. The story of a rock n' roll band will draw others, but the 1960's setting might discourage kids from wanting to see this.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Of the major characters, only JONATHON SCHAECH would be considered as a bad role model. He lets fame go to his head and then doesn't respect his girlfriend or his band mates. Other than him, the only "bad" trait is that the other band members drink beer and TOM EVERETT SCOTT is drunk in one scene.
This is a wonderful, upbeat movie that showcases and adds the title of director and screenwriter to Tom Hanks' repertoire. He creates such little touches and nuances for the characters and scenes that nearly everything has incredible, subtle depth and this just make the movie that much more enjoyable. Of course a nostalgic look at more innocent times doesn't hurt either and this movie showcases a time just before America lost its innocence. The acting's terrific all around, including Tom Everett Scott who could easily play a young Tom Hanks. The music's fun, but you may grow tired of repeatedly hearing the title song. Still, it's a catchy tune and your toes will still be tapping long after you see this one. We give it an 8 out of 10.
OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
Other than some drinking and smoking that's present and a few minor profanities, there isn't much to object to. One of the characters develops a bad attitude and is disrespectful to his girlfriend, band mates and manager. While your kids probably won't be begging to see this one (unless Hanks' presence draws them in), if they do, there isn't much here to object to.
Tina, Guy's girlfriend, runs off with her attractive dentist and is never seen again.
A female fan says that she told her parents that she was going over to a friend's house to study, but instead came to listen to the band.
Jimmy begins to get an attitude toward the other band members and to what Mr. White is making the band do. Soon, he's become hard to work with ("we record my songs or nothing at all") and finally walks out on the band. After he's identified on TV as being engaged to Fay, he blows his stack and tells her that he'll never want to marry her and that he should've dumped her long ago back in Pittsburgh.
Lenny says that the woman he was with the night before was a former Playboy bunny and that she took him back to her room. Nothing more is said about that, nor about what (if anything) happened back at the room.