Think of the dumbest Walt Disney movie you ever saw. Multiply that by about 50 times and you have "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," the story of six obnoxious teen-agers who go to New York to see the Beatles in early 1964.
It was a great idea for a movie. The combination of excitement, hysteria and temporary insanity known as Beatlemania was at its peak when the Fab Four made their American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. But instead or recapturing the mood of an era, director Robert Zemeckis has created a hodgepodge of amateurish, pie-in-the-face humor. The six young stars are untalented, unattractive and about as believable as characters from a "Laverne and Shirley" episode, and for a solid hour and a half they run around bumping into things.
It's hard to find an original thought in this movie. There's a feeble attempt at car ballet borrowed from "American Graffiti," and a pseudo-Fonzie character straight out of "Happy Days." There's the obligatory carchase scene, the usual assortment of corrupt cops, fascist fathers and other standard adolescent conceptions of authority figures, and more non-sequitur slapstick than you can drop a tray of food at. This is supposed to recreate the excitement of Beatlemania?
There are, however, some reasons to see this movie:
You can check out Paul Newman's daughter(pretty, can't act).
Will Jordan does a mean Ed Sullivan impersonation.
There are even a couple of laughs: a barbershop scene in which a young boy is being forced to get his hair cut, a woman in the crowd who yelps when her foot gets trampled on and touches off a screaming riot, a hotel maid who touches off another one by shaking a black mop out of a window.
Also, the sound track is wonderfully evocative.It's hard not to get sucked into the past when some of the great old Beatles songs - "Money," "Love Me Do," "Boys," "Twist and Shout" - come wafting across the screen.
But if you want nostalgia, it would be faster and easier to dig out your "Meet the Beatles" album. Or go see "A Hard Day's Night" - still thebest documentary of Beatlemania - the next time it comes to town.