England’s unlikely television hero Paul Potts shocked the nation after winning “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007, overcoming his unconventional appearance and stage fright to claim the lucrative prize and David Frankel’s unusual decision to cinematise his story leaves me with a feeling of hesitancy.
Famed for his exceedingly ordinary roots, Potts’ life in Port Talbot, Wales, is exaggeratedly told as he navigates the ranks of his local Carphone Warehouse, juggling the dream of an operatic career and avoiding the perilous threat of working like his father in the dingy steel mines. Opening with the message “based on a true story”, one wonders how many clichés were exaggerated in order to dramatise the reality. The concept of being banished to the proposed oblivion that is the industrial workforce seems somewhat unrealistic and degrading. Arguments with his oppressive father figure regarding his lack of ambition feel as if they were added for effect, in conjunction with circulating media articles about Potts’ family issues. Early flashbacks to a childhood afflicted by bullying are consistently used in unimaginative productions and the constant allusions throughout to Welsh rugged figures abusing him physically and verbally are verging on cringe-worthy. Many lines throughout the film also convey a sense obvious progression to the plot. As Paul is threatened with losing his voice at a young age, the doctor tells his parents after asking whether he would be able to sing again: “I don’t see a problem with that”. Similarly when singing before Pavarotti in Venice, Paul has to perform after a stunning piece by Alessandra (Valeria Bilello) and words such as “I wouldn’t want to have to follow that” are muttered by the operatic students. These advancement devices are hard to distinguish between being painful or deliberately charming.
MacKenzie Crook as Braddon is very polished and shows his comedic potential that since the likes of “The Office” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” hasn’t been truly recognised on the silver screen. James Corden’s portrayal of Paul Potts encompasses the stigma of social awkwardness before his superstardom and through his own vibrant personality, creates a pleasant character. His relationship with his wife to be Julz (Alexandra Roach) is fascinating; two misfits finding solace in one another is at least engaging. However moments like Julz throwing their love away over a few days of ignored texts seems unexplained, especially as they get married in the next scene.
Simon Cowell is said to have only had influence in the post-production stages, yet the overly British nature of the movie is seemingly catered for an American market. Authenticity from the smallest detail to the electronic pub machines are on point, only adding to the forced accents and stereotypical dialogue. There are enjoyable moments, where Potts can be heard describing the culture of Venice as “so fresh”, whilst eating a Burger King meal. However, these are few and far between.
‘One Chance’ feels like an unlikely film to have great potential but the manner in which it is executed is not well thought through. There are too many questions unanswered and even as mild entertainment, the structure is sporadic. Many elements of the script feel like they are added in order to fit the formulaic Hollywood structure. Nonetheless it is slightly amusing and impressively farfetched despite being ‘real’.
IMDB Rating: 6.4
My Rating: 5