That Thing You Do!

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
That Thing You Do! Movie Poster Image
Sweet, sleepy take on flash-in-the-pan '60s band.
  • PG
  • 1996
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's some talk of kissing, and one big on-screen kiss, but no hanky-panky.


A few mild profanities, including "a--hole," "ass," and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking. Guy gets a hangover after spending the night before drinking at a jazz club. The group's manager gives them beers in the middle of the day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that aside from a few curse words and some drinking, this film offers little that would offend parents. The band's manager gives them beers in the afternoon, and Guy gets drunk at a jazz bar, but pays for it the next day with a hangover. Jimmy humiliates his girlfriend in front of everyone.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bykaizenn January 2, 2018

The sex rating of “not present” for this movie can be a little deceiving...

First of all, there is plenty of deep tongue kissing throughout the movie. But more importantly, the Extended Cut version adds a pretty sexual scene, with Charl... Continue reading
Adult Written byleahmalec December 12, 2020

Fun movie- but watch out for extended version!

A fun family movie for older kids/tweens. Be careful not to get the extended version (like we did- oops!). There is a make out scene in the first five minutes.
Teen, 17 years old Written bydasherslasher June 22, 2020

Great movie with many catchy songs

That Thing You Do the movie is just as good as the song. This movie is funny and very memorable. Definitely a movie you'll be watching over and over again.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bysofidomi06 April 18, 2020

Awesome Lighthearted Movie! PLEASE READ

I watched this with my aunt after her remembering how fun it was. I personally loved it! The music is great. Some kissing, revealing clothes, and inappropriate... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1964, Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) works at his father's appliance store until a freak accident sidelines a local quartet's drummer. Then, Guy's secret passion for jazz and percussion blooms and he turns the dull ballad "That Thing You Do!" into a pop hit. He and the other guys in the One-ders (mispronounced by everyone as the "Oh-nee-ders") get a manager, change the spelling of the band's name, cut a single, and suddenly find themselves touring state fairs, playing on a television show, and acting in a movie. They have it all, but can they keep it together to cut another album, or will they go from being the Wonders to just another one-hit wonder?

Is it any good?

THAT THING YOU DO! is as sweet and chaste as the eponymous song. In fact, it's so agreeable, it's positively boring for anyone who's ever seen any episodes of VH1's Behind the Music. That's not to say that younger viewers and those just discovering the music of the 1960s won't enjoy the film.

What's remarkable about That Thing You Do! is that this unremarkable remake of the Beatles story is what writer and director Tom Hanks chose to do with the political capital he amassed in blockbusters like Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump. It's an oddly wholesome and lackluster choice. What we see here is a grown-up living his fantasy of being part of the Fab Four. Still, because of its sweet and chaste bent, the PG-rated film is perfect for tweens and younger teens who haven't yet been drawn into more risqué viewing choices.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how family members resolve conflicts within their prospective groups. Do you believe that "you can't keep a band (or a group of friends) together," as one of the characters says? How would you handle having a crush on one of your friend's girlfriends? You can also talk about your favorite one-hit wonders.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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