Picks and Pans Review: Give My Regards to Broad Street

updated 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Paul McCartney says he thought up the idea for this movie in the backseat of a taxi. It looks it. He plays a rich rock musician who discovers that the master tape of his latest album is missing. The suspect is a low-level record-company worker with a criminal record. So far so good, but the story is quickly abandoned for a lot of music, and it's of mixed quality. McCartney sings a medley of old Beatles favorites near the beginning (Yesterday; Here, There and Everywhere), giving the film an especially sad and nostalgic tint. The plot seems almost incidental, as if the movie were created just as a vehicle for Paul's singing. Some of the numbers are dazzling. A rendition of Eleanor Rigby involves an elaborate flashback in which McCartney plays a 19th-century gentleman on an outing in the country. And there are some good new tunes like Not Such a Bad Boy and No Values, which features Paul in leather jacket and ducktail, hearkening back to the early days of the Beatles. But the dialogue is weak, the movie is occasionally downright incoherent and too many scenes and characters seem to have no meaning. Ringo Starr appears, naturally enough, as the drummer. His real-life wife, Barbara Bach, plays a reporter-groupie. Mrs. McCartney, Linda, is everywhere evident, and singer Tracey Ullman plays the suspect's girlfriend (as opposed to his wife). McCartney might have made quite a fascinating movie out of the life of a middle-aged superstar. Or he might have made a good old-fashioned concert film with none of the fictional frills. But he took the middle road, and it turns into mush. (PG)

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