Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Rock Musical  |   Release Date - Jul 21, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Perry Seibert

Quite possibly the silliest movie ever conceived, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band attempts to tie together 30 or so unrelated Beatles songs into a narrative about young Billy Shears, played with minimum effort by Peter Frampton. This is an aggressively silly film. The characters speak no dialogue. Only a voice-over narration advances the plot, which is nothing more than an excuse to stage more musical numbers. There is little doubt that the film was hardly more than a two-hour advertisement for the corresponding soundtrack album. Since everybody involved appears to understand how silly this entire project is, the film does possess a handful of high camp moments. Steve Martin's gleeful hammer killer Maxwell, George Burns's Mr. Kite, and Aerosmith's rendition of "Come Together" all "work," but not in any conventional way. They somehow transcend the jaw-dropping inanity that poisons the rest of the cast. Admittedly, the movie does have a car-wreck quality about it -- most pop culture fiends will continue watching despite themselves just to see (and hear) how bad it can get. Since there is hardly a plot to follow, all that leaves is the music. For those who want to hear Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees cover Beatles tunes, this is your Citizen Kane.