The Breakdown

Overall Score

PT Barnum’s world famous circus is the framework of this wildly-sanitized, brainless but likable musical, very loosely based on the first half of his life. But this homage to flash over substance hucksterism is no Moulin Rouge.

Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya all inject loads of earnest enthusiasm into their one-dimensional characters as they dance and sing their way through frenetic choreography and inspirational pop tunes about social and racial inequality. And “Never Enough” (voiced by The Voice’s season 3 contestant Loren Allred) is outstanding. And as long as you ignore that the film bears no historical accuracy whatsoever to its mid-1800s setting nor in its portrait of Barnum (whom actually did some truly despicable things in his exploitive, hoaxster-filled career), this mindless buffet of cinematic fast food will taste just fine. B


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