A Heartbeat Away - movie review
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Still, seriously: you have no idea how badly you need to make sure you and your loved ones stay away from this.
Again, in and of itself, being a crowd-pleasing piece of lowest common denominator entertainment isn’t automatically a bad thing. And it doesn’t seem like it gets much more crowd-pleasing than this: when developers want to transform the small costal town of Montague into a big-time resort, only one thing stands in their way – the marching band’s clubhouse. (though it doesn’t really stand in anyone’s way as it’s just where they want to put a giant lobster statue, but the fact the story makes no sense is the least of this film’s oh so many problems).
The marching band’s never fully recovered from a debacle twenty years ago that turned conductor Edwin Flack (William Zappa) into a bitter, pop-music hating old sod, so when he gets injured and the mayor (Colin Friels) starts pressuring the band to disband and give up the clubhouse he doesn’t have the guts to stop them from leaving.
Not so his rock-music loving son Kevin (Sebastian Gregory), who secretly gets the band back together to compete in the big marching band competition where if they win they’ll get to keep their club house and he’ll get to shag dance instructor / law student Mandy (Isobel Lucas) and Kevin Bacon will be allowed to dance at the prom or something.
Usually a storyline this stale has something going on somewhere to liven things up – hammy performances, stupid musical numbers, nudity, aliens. Not here. Every single element of this film lacks even the most basic of sparks, content merely to lifelessly trudge through the motions before grinding to an utterly forgettable halt somewhere between serious drama and cartoony comedy.
Some people might try to suggest that a film with dialogue like “How about some real music! Something new – like Kings of Leon” and a rock band with a sex pest lead called Tripod couldn’t be all bad. Then there’s the song with the lyric “tonight there’s going to be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town” (like maybe at the jail perhaps?).
But even laughably bad dialogue and an often bizarre plot – the band reform in secret then practice by marching up and down the town pier, while Kevin seemingly meets Mandy for the first time at a music store (where her job consists of dancing around with customers for hours) early in the film even though they live in a town with a four figure population and her father’s the freakin’ mayor – can’t nudge this into “so bad it’s good” territory. No, it takes the revelation that the song the marching band played back in 1990 – when it all fell apart because they tried to play “modern” music – was the decades old Macarthur Park (“Someone left the cake out in the rain”) to manage that.
And by then, it’s way too late. This should have been called A World Away – at least then you could add “Stay” to the posters.
- No stars
A Heartbeat Away opens in Australian cinemas on Thursday, March 17.
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