Reviewer's Grade: C
You might wonder how a movie loaded with great Beatles songs could possibly go wrong, but "Across the Universe" shows us how. Director Julie Taymor ("Frida") taps songs from the Fab Four catalog for this marginal mystery tour through a comic-book version of the Sixties.
But don't expect to hear John, Paul, George or Ringo: "Across the Universe" reinterprets and retrofits 33 Beatles compositions to accompany its love story told amid a backdrop of sex, drugs and more drugs. Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a young dockworker from Liverpool; Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) is a child of privilege in America.
Can these archetypes make a go of it and still find room for embarrassing dialogue, wheezy plot contrivances and wink-wink-nudge-nudge Beatles references? It's not all bad news, as "Across the Universe" is brightened by several scenes of rich visual whimsy, but they're not enough to sustain 131 minutes of helter skelter. PG-13