By Adam Ray Palmer
Today, I have a DVD review from 2013. I had been meaning to watch this film for a while but I only just managed to catch it over the Christmas break.
The ever-so brilliant Channel 5 showed One Chance a few days after Christmas when everyone was lulling about on their sofas.
If you never had a chance to see this comedic biopic then we will give you the lowdown and tell you whether it is worth searching out…
One Chance tells the true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night who became a phenomenon after being chosen for -- and ultimately winning -- Britain's Got Talent in 2007.
One Chance follows the standard golden formula of light-hearted sentimentality. It lets audiences ride the lows but also enjoy the highs. The narrative is most recognisable to that of Billy Elliot. Elliot pursued the arts under the disapproving gaze of a blue-collar dad (played here by Colm Meaney) in a downbeat town. The only difference here is that One Chance is back by Syco and Harvey Weinstein which is pretty impressive.
With One Chance, I’ve commented that the formula is pretty straightforward; although the content is anything but. David Frankel (director, The Devil Wears Prada) crams his story with predictable developments yet brings an enlightening coming-of-age story that has incredible sub-plots that you would never expect to be real. Even though most of this stuff actually happened, there’s never a moment when you think “what? How is this real?” To be fair to Frankel, he does also give the film a spring in its step with some slick direction at times. One scene I like is when Paul (as a boy) is running from a gang of bullies that quickly transitioned into Paul as an adult running from the same gang of bullies, now collectively grown up. Although, one thing that did cross my mind, I can’t help but think it would be better served as a stage show.
James Corden could even do the stage show as he is already a Tony award-winning actor for One Man Two Guvnors. In One Chance, he is distinctly average but it’s not his fault. The script is quite limp in terms of the dialogue so he never gets his moment to sparkle. He is only ever charming when he is onscreen with his leading lady Alexandra Roach (Julz). The pair of them give the film another dimension and the audience can feel their love for each other. Without Julz, it is quite clear Paul Potts wouldn’t have become the star he is today. Their relationship is key to the film and a sizable amount of credit can be given to the performances from Corden and Roach - in particular to their chemistry.
In the end, Frankel delivers what is quite a simple script but ropes in his experience on higher profile features to get an even better production out of One Chance that it probably deserves. On a positive note, the re-creation of Paul’s TV triumph is great filmmaking mixing real archive footage with Corden expertly lip-syncing to Potts’ incredibly audition. In a nutshell, there is enough humour and melodrama to keep the ‘seen it all’ moviegoers in their seats until the very end.
Cineroom’s Rating: 2 Stars
One Chance is available to rent and/or DVD worldwide – certificate PG