This amiable period piece is essentially a dry run for the madcap comedic style Robert Zemeckis would later perfect in Back to the Future. The script, which Zemeckis co-wrote with Bob Gale, does a great job of re-creating the atmosphere of Beatlemania and is full of clever bits of period detail. Unfortunately, the characters lack the depth that would really allow the viewers to invest themselves in the story and the pacing periodically lags in the midsection due to too many divergent plot threads (no one character ever becomes the heart of the story). Despite these problems, I Wanna Hold Your Hand remains a fun and worthwhile film thanks to its contagious sense of fun. This spirit is brought to life by a game cast. Nancy Allen adds a bit of emotional weight as an engaged girl who has second thoughts when hit by Beatles fever and Wendie Jo Sperber and Eddie Deezen make the ultimate slapstick comedy couple as they lay waste to everything in their path to get their Ed Sullivan Show tickets. I Wanna Hold Your Hand further benefits from skillful direction by Zemeckis, who shows the flair for comedic set pieces that would serve him well throughout the first part of his career. In the end, I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a lightweight but likable comedy that is worth a look for nostalgic Beatles buffs and fans of Zemeckis.
by Donald Guarisco review