That Thing You Do! is neither overly sentimental nor overly cynical. It looks at the invention of our pop-rock mythology, and the bands that fed it until they were consumed by it, just as you'd expect Tom Hanks to: with open eyes (and a raised eyebrow). This is a lightweight but utterly loveable affair which proves Hanks is as assured behind the camera as in front of it. Though Hanks keeps the satirical and critical aspects of this look at show biz fairly light, there's a lot of conviction and savvy behind the steadiness of his gaze. First-time writer/director Tom Hanks stays about a half-beat ahead of the cliches with rim shots of boyish enthusiasm and deft comedy. Good-humored and just about reeking of innocence, That Thing You Do! is what a character has in mind when he asks for "something happy, peppy, up-tempo." Leaving audiences feeling good is very much, and very successfully, on its mind.
VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)