Ash ♥️’s review published on Letterboxd:
Where to begin.
First off, the leads are fine even when the script throws them major arc curveballs. And the film, despite being silly, tries it’s very very best to be cheerful. I’ll admit, up until the recording of Jack’s first EP in a small studio by a train track, I was on board for a cheesy yet well done and sweet film.
But that’s all I can really say that is nice because the wheels did NOT stay on for long.
This isn’t actually a film about EVERYONE forgetting the Beatles: apparently there’s some other stuff they’ve just conveniently forgotten for laughs eg Coke and Harry Potter. I wasn’t expecting some major explanation for the reason no one remembers the Beatles but it feels very stupid to have these other things just conveniently forgotten. It also weakens the film’s premise.
So, so, so many plot holes that I cannot even begin to start poking at. So many of Lily James’s character’s choices are ridiculous and do nothing to convincingly build tension or serve plot (how does this fairly dignified girl suddenly resort to calling her long unrequited love out of the blue to tell him that she’s now seeing someone? Yuck).
The second act is more of an Ed Sheeran shitshow than an actual ‘film’. All of it is just so silly, at one point Ed suggests a ‘song-off’ where he and Jack have to compete to write the better song. Literally any single soul familiar with the plot (which is the entire audience, obviously) knows that Jack is going to win, and it’s just ridiculous to watch the characters play out a scene with absolutely no stakes involved, even when they think there is. And that’s not even the worst of it. I shit you not, there’s a scene where Ed gets a phone call and HIS RING TONE IS SHAPE OF YOU. DEAR GOD, WHY. I NEVER want to see Ed Sheeran act again.
Kate McKinnon is awfully miscast and the character doesn’t work at all. Her brand of money hungry humour is a change of pace from a first act mostly populated with laughs generated from awkward pauses and character stupidity, but it’s not for the better. Having your villain also act as your primary joke factory is super jarring and you’re unsure of whether you’re even meant to like her. She drains any charm the film may have been working towards in the first act.
The film is horrible to look at also. Ugly ass titles speed across the frames, denoting Beatles tracks and famous locations important to their work. The CGI, while obviously able to get away with looking fake in the way it’s used, is still cheap and tacky. Random shot angles are thrown in for the hell of it, seemingly to make boring scenes more interesting (surprise surprise; it doesn’t work).
I’ve barely even scratched the surface of this film’s problems but I quite frankly don’t care enough to go into more detail. This is as big corporation, 2010s celebration of a band who’s career began nearly 60 years ago as it gets. It feels so disconnected with the magic of the music it’s meant to honour; only 2-3 songs are actually performed in full. The idea of someone being the sole human to carry on the torch of musical geniuses who were so important to the rock landscape is a compelling one, but all it acts as is a cheap hook for lure audiences in for 2 hours of bland cinema that had me running for the door the moment the house lights went up.