What if no Beetles? That is the premise of this rom-com/jukebox musical. Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, is the only person in the world who remembers The Beetles after the world looses power for twelve seconds. He is also a struggling musician who just gave up his dreams of making music a career. His manager Ellie Appleton, portrayed by Lily James of Downton Abbey fame, wants him to continue to play. She, painfully obviously, wants a romantic relationship, but Malik is oblivious.
I am not a Beetles fan and I have no emotional attachment to them, neither does Malik it seems. He appears to be a casual fan, none of the songs have any personal meaning to him. Throughout the movie he is asked about the inspiration for multiple songs but can never come up with an answer. I can assign meaning to many songs from my favorite bands. I don't understand why Malik can't except that he is an impostor.
There are other parts of Malik's universe that disappeared; Coke, Oasis, Harry Potter. The troubling bit of this is that Ellie fell for Malik playing Wonderwall, a song that no longer exists. Why this chart topper wouldn't have catapulted Jack Malik to stardom is never explored. The reasoning for why things don't exist is never explained. It is used for cheap laughs throughout the film; it works a few times.
Kate Mckinnon is in her typecast role of the sarcastic, looney, over the top character with added physical comedy. She is the entire record industry distilled into one person. It is a little out of place with the rest of the movie. Nowhere else in the film is the one year record industry really critiqued. Kate gets these roles for a reason; she does them so well. The only problem is that these are the only roles she seems to get.
Visually you get a standard Danny Boyle film. Industrial and grey England looks more beautiful than ever. Malik does a good job of singing the Beetles' catalog. The recording scenes are very fun as Malik experiments to try and duplicate the legendary songs only he remembers. This will be a good movie to watch on basic cable in a hotel room or to have on as background Beetle's noise when you visit the in-laws. It is light hearted and forgettable, perfect for a mid summer afternoon escape.