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Give My Regards To Broad Street

By Jeff Shannon

Critics were ruthless when Give My Regards to Broad Street was released in 1984, but the passing years have turned it into an offbeat curio from Paul McCartney's post-Wings era. The ex-Beatle was roundly panned for scripting this empty-headed vanity project, and it still qualifies as a mistake of sorts, dubiously combining new performances of Beatles classics with a few Wings hits and tracks from McCartney's popular 1982 solo album Tug of War. Most of these songs are performed as semi-lavish, blandly filmed production numbers ("Silly Love Songs" comes off like an embarrassing mix of Michael Jackson's Thriller and a Flock of Seagulls reunion), and the whole movie reeks of cheesy early-'80s New Wave/MTV influence, even in the casting of Tracey Ullman as a leather-clad Londoner with streaks of red hair dye.

The "plot" is entirely dispensable, consisting of "24 hours in the life of a rock star," in which Paul has until midnight to find the missing master tapes of his latest album, or lose his entire music empire to a slimy corporate takeover. (Parallels to Macca's loss of Beatle music rights to Michael Jackson are fascinating to consider.) It's all an excuse for a rambling, amiable mess of a movie, with slim supporting roles for Ringo Starr (who admirably refused to participate in re-recording the Beatles hits), his wife Barbara Bach, Linda McCartney, and, most inexplicably, Sir Ralph Richardson in one of many throwaway fantasy sequences. Critic Roger Ebert rightly called Broad Street "about as close as you can get to a non-movie" (which might explain why director Peter Webb never made another film), but the music's still good (look closely for Dave Edmunds and former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones), and we'd sure like a spin in Sir Paul's groovy vintage hot-rod.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Peter Webb

Stars: Paul McCartney, Bryan Brown, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Linda McCartney, Tracey Ullman, Ralph Richardson

Released: October 23, 1984

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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