THE MOVIE "The Greatest Hits"

WHERE Streaming on Hulu

WHAT IT'S ABOUT “The Greatest Hits,” a new romance, tells the story of Harriet (Lucy Boynton). She's a lonely woman living in Los Angeles, struggling with overwhelming sadness two years after the death of her boyfriend Max (David Corenswet) in a car accident. 

Into her life comes David (Justin H. Min), who has also been through a personal tragedy. They meet in a group grief therapy session; he knocks over a bunch of chairs while she's talking, and then he helps her up after she trips on a curb outside. 

There is, of course, a wrinkle in all of this: Ever since Max's death, whenever a song plays that Harriet once listened to with him, she gets sent back into the past, reliving that moment for the duration of the song in the present.

So, Harriet goes through her life on a desperate quest for silence, walking around with headphones on whenever she's outside. At the same time, she pursues a way to use this supernatural gift to prevent the accident from happening.

The writer-director is Ned Benson (“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”) and the supporting cast also includes Retta (“Parks & Recreation”) as the grief counselor in question.

MY SAY We've all got specific memories and experiences tied to our favorite songs, so the idea at the center of “The Greatest Hits” has some weight to it.

When the movie works best, it gets at exactly what it feels like to lose someone close to you and to have your memories of them triggered regularly, including by something as mundane as, in one instance, a TV jingle.

But the story built around this promising concept leaves a lot to be desired. It goes through its predictable paces without much in the way of urgency or the sort of deep, elemental feeling that would have set it apart.

There's a sense of genre boxes being checked as it speeds toward its conclusion. “The Greatest Hits” needs far more of a grounding in exactly what's happened to Harriet without Max and how her all-consuming obsession with changing their past has impacted her psychologically. Instead, she mostly seems sad, justifiably and understandably sad, but not in a fashion that's different or more compelling than if there were no time-traveling at all.

The thin construction could have been compensated for with interesting characters, engaged in a journey toward love and healing that they made worth the investment.

But there's preciously little to work with here. Boynton is a fine actor, with a résumé including “The Politician,” “Modern Love” and other quality credits, but she can't do much with a character written as purely mopey from start to finish. The men in her life are so one-dimensional, they're nonentities.

To go back to the music analogy that the movie loves so much, “The Greatest Hits” plays like a throwaway track on a much better album. The elements are there, but the magic isn't.

BOTTOM LINE A run-of-the-mill romance.

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