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That Thing You Do! Tom Hanks' Extended Cut

It's light, it's fun, and it's about as far away from more weighty movies like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13 as Tom Hanks could get — which is exactly what he wanted. But the twice-Oscared star didn't just make That Thing You Do! (1996) on a lark. The movie, which follows a young band's rise up the charts in 1964, was Hanks' baby — he wrote the script, he directed it, and he co-starred as the manager/record label exec who shepherds the musicians into the big time. His enthusiasm for the project comes through in the finished film: That Thing You Do! is as engaging and bubbly as its title song. Jonathan Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, and Hanks lookalike Tom Everett Scott star as "The Oneders," an Eerie, Penn.-based foursome who watch their fan-base grow exponentially when Scott's character, substitute drummer Guy Patterson, spontaneously puts a little pep into one of the group's power ballads and turns it into an infectious pop hit. Soon the oft-mispronounced Oneders are big enough to attract the attention of PlayTone records, in the person of Mr. White (Hanks). They're promptly re-christened "The Wonders" ("as in 'I wonder what happened to the Ohneeders,'" quips Zahn's Lenny) and quickly find themselves on top of the charts, heading to Hollywood for TV appearances and movie guest shots. But, just as quickly, internal friction — mostly between brooding artist/lead singer Jimmy (Shchaech) and the rest of the group, as well as his long-suffering girlfriend Faye (Liv Tyler) — sends these true one-hit Wonders into a tailspin. The young cast does a nice job overall; Zahn, as always, uses his impeccable timing to turn his dialogue into the film's best one-liners, and look for lots of Hanks' friends in quick cameos, from former "Bosom Buddies" co-star Peter Scolari to Philadelphia director Jonathan Demme. All in all, the movie is far from complicated, but as Hanks says in the DVD's behind-the-scenes featurette, that was precisely the point. His goal was to make That Thing You Do! "an incredibly refreshing change of pace," and he succeeded. There's always a place — and an audience — for movies that are more about having fun than making a statement.

Fans of That Thing You Do! are bound to appreciate Fox's "Tom Hanks' Extended Cut," which includes the original 1 hr. 47 min. theatrical version along with a new 2 hr. 26 min. edition, which means fans won't have a hard time spotting the new material. Disc One contains the two features with excellent anamorphic transfers (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.0 audio, while Disc Two contains the supplements, including "The Story of The Wonders" (30 min.), "That Thing You Do! Reunion" (10 min.), "The Wonders: Big in Japan" (6 min.), and an "HBO First Look" spot (13 min.), while "Making That Thing You Do!" (13 min.) returns from the original disc. Also on board is a "Feel Alright" music video, three trailers, and a TV spot, while not returning from the original release are the international trailers and the music video for the title song. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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