Review Summary: If you told me it's over, I wouldn't believe you
Ever wondered just what being Paul McCartney would be like? I mean, you performed in what many consider to be the greatest rock band of all time, you have a successful solo career, you've made quite a name for yourself and have performed to a of sold out concerts across the globe, you create such a stir even to be in the presence of other celebrities at award shows and benefit concerts and what not. In fact, just imagine walking into a restaurant... let's say Applebee's. The server is such a huge fan of you, and is all giddy with excitement, and will never get over the time she met the one and only Paul McCartney.
With this alone, it's enough to make you wonder how on earth Macca was capable of creating a film so impossibly boring and void of energy. In fact, it's difficult to see what he was trying to do here. He made a film that was a huge flop, but it's soundtrack was a huge hit- possibly because it was a mere collection of classics with some re-interpretations of his old classics. For that alone, the film gets an extra half point. But otherwise, running at a tedious 108 minutes, it's possible that we could consider this film and A Hard Day's Night
in perfect contrast with each other. A Hard Day's Night
was an energetic and colourful depiction of a group of young'uns, who just so happen to be the world's sweethearts, at the height of their popularity causing a stir wherever they go, Give My Regards to Broad Street
is an unrelentingly grim and depressing depiction of what it's like to be middle-aged and boring.
This is due to a number of things. First off, Macca was never particularly known for his acting ability, but here, it shows. He sleepwalks his way through this film and delivers his lines in a monotone that makes Keanu Reeves seem like David Tennant. And the film's ultra-depressing atmosphere is heightened by the fact that everybody who comes into contact with Paul just seems to be annoyed by him at every turn. In particular, Ringo Starr seems particularly delighted to see Paul near the beginning of the film, when Paul shows up and announces that master tapes for his new album are missing. To which Ringo replies, in quite the monotone: "I don't fancy recording them again." Of course, re-record them. We're also treated to such exciting scenes as where we see what Paul's daily schedule looks like, or jam sessions, where a particularly uninspiring medley of "Here, There and Everywhere", "Yesterday" and "Wanderlust" is performed. It's pretty bland and dull as dishwater- even more dull than it sounds in this review. And let's not forget the scene where we're treated to a BBC radio interview, where he's asked about his latest mediocrity and responds in beige prose-y answers such as, "It's good. We're almost done.", or "Yeah, not long until it's released".
However, the soundtrack does indeed have some gems. Despite the silly lyrics, "Ballroom Dancing" is a catchy track that originally appeared on Tug of War
, and while it pales in comparison to some of his finer solo efforts, it is a fun tune, but in the film, it's accompanied by, what I assume to be, a bizarre music video shoot where Paul wears an outfit that President Coriolanus Snow from The Hunger Games
would call tasteless, and odd images of people... riding down the Nile in China cups, and people ballroom dancing. And them there's an extremely catchy and upbeat rendition of "Silly Love Songs", which is vastly superior to the original, which is also accompanied by perhaps the most whacked out visuals you'll see, with the costumes and makeup making Paul and his band look like Smurfs who were being skull-fucked by Silence Monsters near an exploding cocaine factory.
Unfortunately, with regards to the music itself, much of the same isn't be said. There's plenty of new material here, such as his smash it "No More Lonely Nights", which boasts the distinction of having lead guitar work by David Gilmour, which may be the one good song. His new material really is quite boring, empty and soulless, and only reminds you of how far he'd fallen in the 1980s when songs like "For No One" and "Eleanor Righy" are sandwiched between them, except even Beatles classics can't salvage the album when they're performed as energy-less and boring as they are on the album.
The only saving grace for this whole fiasco is that at the end of the day, it's a Paul McCartney project- which is why I chose to review both the movie and the soundtrack. As a film, this half-soap opera and half-video collection would have worked better as... a video collection, with interlinking interludes. And as a soundtrack or re-recording album, there's little new material to be found- which is why the music portion is so scarce. On the end, it isn't particularly bad, and has its moments, but it's quite the fiasco. Let's just day that thankfully, the film flopped, and he hasn't made any attempts to convince us that he's film material again.