Thursday, 10 April 2014

One Chance: Bly Ray Review

One Chance: Bly Ray Review

Rating: PG
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

In this latest heart-warming, based on a true story, feel good audience film, tap shoes are swapped for choirboy singing and opera as the story of Paul Potts unfolds. Yep, you know Paul Potts, the winner of Britain's Got Talent who wowed the crowds with his Nessun Dorma. (Sorry, spoiler alert)

Set in Wales, in the UK, chubby comedian James Corden (of Gavin and Stacey) is the underdog Paul Potts, a likeable but bullied bloke with crooked teeth who lacks confidence. He's a mobile phone salesman whose bedroom is decorated with opera posters and who, by his own admission, "always wanted to sing". On his side is his boss (played with oddball charm by The Office's Mackenzie Crook), his met-her-on-an-internet-chatroom-potential-girlfriend Julie-Ann and his mum (Julie Walters). Opposed to his dream is the gruff been-down-the-coalface-in-the-steel-works-all-my-life dad (Colm Meaney) and most of the people he knows who believe opera is the green card to bully and abuse him.

The biopic follows the rags to riches story in true formulaic fashion as Potts faces (apparently) insurmountable odds to achieve his dream, get to an opera school in Venice and sing for Pavarotti. But Pavarotti crushes Potts' dream and a trip back to small town Wales and the depression of ordinary everyday life ends up being his destiny. However, in a move which will surprise no-one, Paul's passion for singing rises up from its apparent grave to face yet more setbacks....

It's very easy to dismiss the likes of One Chance; it's the kind of formulaic, cloying tosh that annoys the critics and proves to be a massive hit with audiences. Yet, thanks to Corden's warmth and empathy which radiates from the screen as much as the various arias he sings throughout, it's fairly innocuous if unsurprising and unoriginal stuff. (Even if some of the miming is a little overdone - Potts provided the actual vocals)

Every dramatic turn is signposted from a mile off - Will his father change his anti- stance? Will Paul's innumerable setbacks beat down the boy and destroy him? Will the bullies triumph after years of harassment? Will the shots of Venice, bathed in beauty and opera be a boon to the Venice Tourism Board?

And yet, thanks to a nicely rounded heart-warming romance between Corden and Roach and believe in yourself style journey, One Chance isn't as bad as you'd expect from the sentimental trailers around.

There's a naive charm to Corden's portrayal and a light comedic touch (as evidenced by his work on Gavin and Stacey) which helps you through the inevitable twists, plot contrivances, Pol Pot gags, fat jokes, (sample - "Couldn't you just eat him up?" opines his mother at one point; to which the father replies "You'd need a few sittings") and rags to riches cliches and tropes.

You've seen it all before in One Chance and The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankelbrings no new touches to the style of syrupy biopic storytelling; it's crowd-pleasing in the extreme and box-ticking to the max, but mark my words, it'll be more popular than the last boy-faces-extreme-adversity-only-to-triumph-against-all-the-odds film and you'll find it pointless to resist such generic familiar fare.

Extras: Simon Cowell featurette


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