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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 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 5 reviews

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 Written bymyab July 18, 2010

Great Family Night Movie

Loved this movie when I first saw it on the big screen. Now that my children are older, they love it, too. Wholesome, with the exception of a few choice words... Continue reading
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
Kid, 11 years old January 28, 2012

Very nice

A sweet, funny movie that is pretty age-appropriate, aside from a few curse words and some drinking & smoking.
Kid, 10 years old May 22, 2010

Fine for any kids who don't pick up a few iffy words

Luv this movie its sooooooooooo terrific and i love it!

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love music

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