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Stars: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Sarah Lancashire, Elizabeth Berrington

Director: Danny Boyle

Here's a jolly wheeze: imagine you were involved in a traffic accident during a worldwide 12-second blackout and woke up in hospital (minus two front teeth) to find yourself in a parallel world where no one has ever heard of The Beatles (or, for that matter, Oasis, or cigarettes, or coca-cola - diversions we could do without).

Well, it happens to Jack Malik (Patel), a British-Asian singer-songwriter whose career as such has been going nowhere despite best efforts of his manager, teacher Ellie (James) - of course they love each other, but have never come out with it.

Bewildered, Jack Googles 'Beatles', and is confronted by a picture of an insect. 'John, Paul, George & Ringo' produces a link to Pope John Paul II.

The freak happenstance, however, has presented Jack with a golden opportunity: to offer the songs of Lennon, McCartney and Co as his own, and sing them as such - if he can remember all the words.

And, of course, it works. In no time at all, and, promoted by pop superstar Sheeran (playing himself very decently), he becomes a world-renowned artist, and is soon seized by a frightening record producer (over-acted, as usual, by McKinnon, in a role that for once calls for it).

The narrative doesn't hang together at all, but Patel sings up a storm, the songs are, of course, quite marvellous, and the odds are that, for all the film's faults, most will enjoy it. Director Boyle rather over-eggs the pudding towards the end by introducing two essentially extraneous characters who also remember The Beatles, which kind of runs contrary to the spirit of a plot already full of 'Ah, but's'.

Never mind: take the fantasy-comedy-musical for what it is - and it is a corker of an idea - and you're guaranteed a good evening out.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Panalux.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 23 Jun 2019