Across the Universe(12A)

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The Independent Culture

Poor Paul McCartney. First there was his marriage break-up, and now there's Across the Universe, an appallingly contrived Beatles musical, which is not so much a film as a game of spot the Beatles references. How appallingly contrived is it? Well, it features a Liverpudlian docker named – hey – Jude (Jim Sturgess) who goes to live in New York in the 1960s and meets a real diamond named Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood).

He also meets her brother Maxwell – who has a silver hammer – plus Dr Robert, Mr Kite, sexy Sadie, and dear Prudence. It's a small mercy that Jude doesn't become a paperback writer or take up residence on board a yellow submarine.

When the characters aren't singing to each other, they're making Zelig-like cameos at the Sixties' major countercultural happenings, but there's no actual plot. Either the story goes wherever it's needed to suit the Beatles songs being strung together, or else it shoehorns in some famous event, and an astoundingly inappropriate song is slapped on top. If any other musical producers have their eyes on the Fab Four's back catalogue, let it be.

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