Monday, October 06, 2014

One Chance: The Britain’s Got Talent Movie

Paul Potts is an unusual TV talent show winner, because he actually has talent. The opera singer cuts an unassuming figure, but his voice is the real thing. However, since anyone who uses Yahoo’s online services already knows what happened when he appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, David Frankel’s One Chance (trailer here) will necessarily feel rather anti-climatic. At least fans of the British tenor can stream it for free on Yahoo up until its proper theatrical opening this Friday, as part of the Weinstein’s ongoing campaign to give exhibitors fits.

Even as a boy, working class Potts has an obvious talent for singing, but it earns him more bullying than praise. His mother Yvonne tries to support his musical sensibilities, but his father Roland often joins in with his tormentors (his habit of donning the full Pagliacci costume hardly helps matters either). As a result, self-confidence becomes a persistent issue for Potts. 

Nonetheless, he somehow summons the gumption to court the plucky Julie-Ann “Julz,” who encourages him to pursue his dream. Early in their relationship, she shows enough faith and trust to let him study in Venice, but it ends in disappointment. At least, the picturesque city and budding diva Alessandra look good on camera.

Man oh man, it is hard to like a film in which Simon Cowell and the excretable Piers Morgan play themselves. Nevertheless, lead actor James Corden is more eager to be loved than the average puppy. He is unflaggingly earnest and lip-synchs effectively enough in the performance scenes. Most importantly, he develops some nice, lived-in romantic chemistry with Alexandra Roach’s Julz. On the other hand, his parents might as well be hand-me-downs from Billy Elliot, so it is hard to blame Julie Waters and Colm Meaney for just turning on the auto-pilot switch. Still, Valeria Bilello’s Alessandra has her moments, but Frankel safely ushers her out of the picture before things get too interesting.

Indeed, One Chance always plays it safe, indulging in some of the most shameless manipulative clichés. Yet, it is admittedly nice to see a decent chap like Potts make it big, while staying faithful to his true beloved. In all honesty, this is probably the perfect film to distribute online, because it delivers the promised dose of sentimental inspiration and is then quickly forgotten, leaving little trace behind with viewers. Harmless and inconsequential, One Chance is a film by and for Potts fans. Those interested should check it at Yahoo now, before it opens this Friday (10/10) in New York at the Village East.