That song! That song!!!

"Yoooou...dooooin' that thing you dooo..."

There it is again! It's everywhere!!!

"breakin' my heart in twoooooo..."

You can't escape it! It's in every scene!!!!

"dooooin' that thing you dooooooo.."

Guess what movie I saw?

Actually, I didn't see a movie, I saw a two-hour music video for the same song.

Tom Hanks' first attempt as writer/director/actor/god of all that he surveys is the whimsical, nice little film, That Thing You Do! You gotta know going in that it's a musical, there's an exclamation point in the title!

It's the story of a small town band, their hugely popular song, and how fame and fortune effect their lives.

Think you know how it ends? Guess what, you do.

Think you can write the entire story right here, without knowing anything else except that it's standard Hollywood fare? Guess what, you can. Think you've seen this a hundred times before? Guess what, you have.

But you know, it's still a pretty good movie.

Tommy Boy grabbed himself a bunch of relative unknowns to be his teenage band, and they all do a perfectly good job being the stereotypes they are supposed to be. The intelligent drummer, the loony guitar player, the moody, artistic singer/songwriter, and the bass player whom nobody knows or cares about. You think I'm kidding, yet this bass player, who pretty much is in the whole movie, is never given a name, and is referred to in the credits as "The Bass Player."

Nobody ever gives a rat's ass about the bass player.

Liv Tyler shows up as the girlfriend, and Tom Hanks is the Hollywood manager. Both do fine jobs. Not great, just fine. Liv even gets the standard "Oscar Clip" scene which comes out of nowhere and gives her a chance to cry on-screen for the Academy. Nice job. Not needed, but nice.

This whole darned movie is nice. It's well made, well shot, peppy. But it, like the song which is played numerous times throughout, has no substance. Here's a story of the band. They do a song. The song gets played. They become big. They're the next Beatles. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Nothing bad ever happens to these people. They get all the breaks, and rise to the top without any conflict. Ever. And that's the problem. Who cares?

They have lots of chances for conflict, but they don't do anything with it. Guy in love with other guy's girlfriend? We see it, they don't, no conflict. Is band member going to be sick on national television and ruin everything? Could be... nope. No problem. Band member and dear friend missing an hour before the show? No problem, here's a studio musician to take his place who's even better, and no one cares that there's been a switch. Did they totally screw up a big gig? Doesn't matter, they got the contract based on the one terrible performance, no worries.

Don't worry, be happy.

And the movie does a good job at being happy. It also does a great job at playing the damn song fifty-seven times and you still don't hate it. It's damn catchy.

"Yoooooou...doin' that thing you dooooo..."

Tom Hanks, in what is most definitely his baby, comes out of the dugout swinging not for the fences, but for a single, and he connects and gets a nice little base hit. Nothing to write home about, but he certainly didn't strike out.

Do you need to see this movie? No. Do you need to rent it? Not really. If you want, just catch the music video, and you've got your movie.

There's a soundtrack to the film, with songs written by Tom Hanks. From the looks of the movie, I'd say it's twelve versions of the same song.

"Doooin' that thing you dooooo...."

Yet I left the theater with a smile on my face and that evil-inspired ditty in my head. Any show where you leave humming the song is a decent show, so this baby is a decent, brain dead flick.

I give That Thing You Do! 3 Babylons. My scores are based on how much I enjoyed the movie, and while this is no great cinematic fare, I certainly enjoyed it.

The best part is coming to work the next day singing the song, because it drives everyone crazy. You should try it.

"I just love ya doin' that thing you dooooooo."

Editor's Note:

The Self-Made Critic acknowledges that he's been lax of late, and he explains himself away by saying that there just haven't been any good movies out lately. He knows that, as a critic, it's his job to see bad movies, except for Kazaam, but since he doesn't get paid or anything, he doesn't feel as obligated as he might otherwise be. Plus he needs time to watch every back episode of The X-Files that he can get his hands on, and that takes up a huge chunk of time.

He's sorry.

However, there are lots of interesting movies coming out soon. The holidays are approaching, and he has plans on catching a bunch of stuff.

And then Star Wars is in January, so there's a five Babylon review on the horizon.

I bet you're all holding your breath in anticipation.

Well don't, it's a long time until January, and you might die for lack of breath. Lord knows I can't afford to have either of my readers die on me.

In fact, just to be safe, everyone better have two of their friends sing up to the list, that way as you each pass away, there will be other's to carry on the torch. With a little luck, we will survive.

Eventually I see this as a Saturday Morning show on the WB. Whaddya you think?