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That Thing You Do!

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At 19, Liv Tyler has been a daughter to two rock legends (she called Todd Rundgren Dad until she was 10, then learned that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is her real father), the center of a feeding frenzy in Cannes, the star of a Bernardo Bertolucci movie, and, according to Tom Hanks, ”the oldest 18-year-old I’ve ever encountered.”

So much life experience; so little that comes through on screen. Tyler is that rare creature who is maturing as an actress without seeming to gain in finesse. She’s starred in six films to date, and while at her worst she’s a pouty-lipped, dead-voiced blank, at her more recent best, unexpectedly rich nuances can float up through the artless perfection of that face.

Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do! misuses the actress as a pliant object of desire, in this case fought over by one-hit rockers. Here, at least, Tyler shows off a gentle playfulness that renders her believably desirable. A-

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