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Despite the best efforts of lead Andrew Garfield this musical is frustratingly devoid of stakes, tension and, most tellingly, good songs.

In a movie called Tick, Tick... Boom! you'd expect nothing less than a tense time lock, which pushes the protagonist all the way in search for the one thing he desires.

On paper Tick, Tick... Boom! has such a device: an upcoming 30th birthday for aspiring Broadway writer Jonathan Larson, which coincides with the presentation to potential investors of the musical he's been working on for the best part of a decade. And yet under Lin-Manuel Miranda's slick but ultimately vapid direction you hardly ever feel the pressure.

That is by far the movie's biggest flaw, the one that keeps you from fully engaging with the story, but it's far from the only ball Tick, Tick... Boom! frustratingly drops. The picture is constructed out of every badly worn cliché about Broadway and the artist's struggle you can imagine, while - with the exception of the opening number - the songs have an annoying tendency to overexplain everything.

Andrew Garfield's fine lead performance does some heavy lifting to get you past the uninspired moments, but not nearly enough to rank Tick, Tick... Boom! as anything but a big disappointment.

release: 2021

director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

starring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens


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