Boyle and Cur­tis make a pleas­ing, if lim­ited comedic tale

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

YESTERDAY (12A)

DO you want to know a se­cret?

I’m a sucker for a sweet, heart­felt ro­man­tic com­edy and since Four Wed­dings and A Fu­neral in 1994, scriptwrit­er Richard Cur­tis has been a taste of honey with beau­ti­fully judged sto­ries of amour fou across the class divide.

Yesterday di­rected by Danny Boyle should con­tinue that win­ning streak, cast­ing Himesh Pa­tel and Lily James as best friends, whose paths di­verge af­ter a nasty bout of pop culture am­ne­sia rip­ples across the uni­verse, eras­ing all mem­ory of John Len­non, Paul McCartney, Ge­orge Harrison and Ringo Starr.

I don’t want to spoil the party but this is prob­a­bly my least favourite Cur­tis script.

I will ad­mit, there are a cou­ple of gor­geous, heart-tug­ging scenes that did gen­uinely please, please me in­clud­ing a farewell at a train sta­tion that cul­mi­nates in James’ school­teacher lament­ing, ‘I’ve wasted half of my life wait­ing for you to love me’.

Ed Sheeran also has a blast in a colour­ful sup­port­ing role – let it be known, the chart-top­ping mu­si­cian can glee­fully poke fun at him­self – but you can see the heavy-lift­ing on screen from gifted costars Kate McKin­non and Joel Fry.

Strug­gling singer-song­writer Jack Ma­lik (Pa­tel) is barely one step down the long and wind­ing road to success with his child­hood friend and man­ager, Ellie (James).

Af­ter a hard day’s night of gig­ging to al­most no re­ply, Jack cy­cles home to his par­ents (San­jeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal) in Clac­ton-on-Sea and col­lides with a bus dur­ing a 12-sec­ond black­out.

When he emerges from his golden slum­bers in hospital, Jack dis­cov­ers that no one – ex­cept for him – re­mem­bers the Bea­tles.

He tries to act nat­u­rally as he per­forms a ren­di­tion of Yesterday for Ellie and pals Lucy (El­lise Chap­pell), Nick (Harry Michell) and Rocky (Fry).

They fail to dig it and it’s all too much for Jack.

‘It’s one of the great­est songs ever writ­ten.’ he gushes like a lit­tle child.

With a lit­tle help from his friends, Jack be­comes a vi­ral sen­sa­tion by pass­ing off the Bea­tles’ back cat­a­logue as his words of love.

Jack says hello, goodbye to anonymity af­ter cut­throat Amer­i­can agent Debra Ham­mer (McKin­non) of­fers him a ticket to ride the hel­ter skel­ter to global su­per­star­dom.

Ed Sheeran be­comes a men­tor – ‘You’re Mozart, I’m Salieri.’ – as Jack in­spires fans to come to­gether behind him as the face of a rock’n’ roll mu­sic rev­o­lu­tion here, there and ev­ery­where.

Ev­ery lit­tle thing Jack does takes him fur­ther away from Ellie.

He even­tu­ally re­alises that there’s a place for him back in Clac­ton-on-Sea and he needs to get back to the girl, who be­lieved in him when he was a nowhere man.

I want to tell you that Yesterday is a feel-good chart-top­ping hit but something is miss­ing that should make me want to fever­ishly twist and shout from the rooftops about di­rec­tor Boyle’s pic­ture.

Oddly, I wasn’t suf­fi­ciently in­vested in Jack any time at all to make me root for him on his mag­i­cal mys­tery tour to sec­ond­hand fame and for­tune.

I’ve got a feel­ing that fans of Cur­tis’ other films in­clud­ing Love Ac­tu­ally and Not­ting Hill will turn out in droves re­gard­less of its many faults.

RAT­ING: 6/10

Himesh Pa­tel as Jack Ma­lik in Yesterday.

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