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"The Greatest Showman" is a one-hour-and-45 minute onslaught on the senses – all peppy, fizzy ballads and frantic energy, earnest sentiments and impossibly good intentions. It's begging for love, like a puppy serenading us with pop songs.It's exhausting, and messy and that's too bad, because Jackman really is one of the great showmen of our time. Give the man a stage and a song, and it's near impossible not to love him. Jackman plays P.T. Barnum, the 19th-century businessman and politician – but a showman above all – who founded the Barnum & Bailey circus. The movie's publicity notes call him "America's original pop-culture impresario".OK, but they weren't singing 21st-century pop ballads back then, and one of the movie's biggest problems is its almost desperate determination to contemporize everything for a young audience.It's all the more frustrating given that the songs come from talented duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the lyrics for "La La Land" and the terrific score for Broadway's "Dear Evan Hansen".
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