There are only 50 shopping days till Christmas , so let's go out on a limb -- "Give My Regards to Broad Street" is the worst movie of the year. A barely fictionalized account of a day in the life of Paul McCartney, it's the kind of smothering tedium that leaves you screaming for air.
The master tapes for the new McCartney album are missing -- they'd been entrusted to Harry (Ian Hastings), an ex-con, so everyone assumes he pilfered them. But not McCartney -- Harry swore to him that he'd gone straight, and McCartney still believes in him. It's his way. Sure, it might be raining outside, but that doesn't mean you can't listen to "Good Day Sunshine" on the radio of your Rolls-Royce.
Let's face it, it's tough being a rock star. In the morning, the computer in your vintage Willys roadster spits out your day's appointments, granting you but a short break at half past five, so you shuttle from recording session to recording session, wiping the fatigue from your brow, all the while hounded by abusive autograph seekers and pesky interviewers. The whole time those dour Guys in the Suits are telling you that if the tapes aren't recovered, the company will be swallowed up by the blighters from Rathbone Industries. What a tribute it is to McCartney that he suffers fools gladly, and lacks not the common touch!
The cynical might point out that this tribute comes from McCartney himself, who wrote the screenplay. When will these party-poopers ever learn to zippity-doo-dah through life like old Paul?
As McCartney wends through his day, we're introduced to his wife Linda, his old buddy Ringo (and Ringo's wife Barbara Bach, who, needless to say, lacks the tools to portray a Woman of Journalism), his producer George Miller and his sidemen; the camera travels lovingly across his studio equipment and his various expensive cars, as if touching the stuff of McCartney's life beat kissing the Blarney Stone all hollow. This isn't a movie -- it's a shrine.
Then there are the performances of newly arranged old Beatles numbers and Wings numbers, which McCartney stuffs into the thin skin of his plot with all the excitement of a taxidermist. And director Peter Webb's bland and static camerawork makes you think MTV had never been invented. When McCartney tries to goose the performance (in "Silly Love Songs"), he dresses the band up in all white -- suits, wigs, makeup -- pumps dry ice through chromium pipes and (hubba hubba) drags on a breakdancer.
"Give My Regards to Broad Street" shows us egomania run riot, a vision of life that reduces everyone else to a nincompoop while meaningless fantasies of the Great Artist are explored in endless dream sequences and the smallest relics he comes into contact with are held up to marvel.
McCartney claims the moral high ground by taking sides with the little people against the corporadoes -- but just what does he have against big business? Coming from one of the richest men in the world, it sticks in your craw. You don't have to play this movie backwards to believe that Paul is dead.