Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
James Corden had one chance to bring us something special. But did he pull it off?..
Well, I had a wail of a mime – TIME!
I mean time.
..Ok, I’m lying. After leaving the auditorium at the end of the film, I honestly couldn’t have felt more indifferent. I was neither inspired or entertained. One Chance is one of those features where your very first word to your friend as you push open the door to exit, is something completely unrelated to what you just saw, for example: “..did you say you wanted to pop to Starbucks? Because I need to get a new jacket..” – I.E. the movie went straight over your head, and has already evaporated from memory.
Allow me to explain why.
I can’t fathom why this British actor never seems to make an impact on screen. Oh he manages to carry out a script effortlessly, and glides through any scene without fault, thats not the issue. The issue ishis inability to captivate. For me, if an actor has that glint in his eye as he wows me with his talent – bingo. But with Corden, its as if he’s never truly ‘in the moment’; as if the director could shout “CUT!” and he’d immediately stop speaking and look at the director – whereas a proper talented actor would stop. Pause. Blink, and actually come out of character. You know that actor is very much into his / hercharacter.
Corden plays the same character time and time again; downtrodden and disgruntled chubby boy who slaps his thigh and skips off with a rucksack on his back.
As always though, I like to bring a fair review, so the positives of the bloke?..
His cuteness. James pulls of being adorable very well. One scene in this movie sees him stood next to a jukebox with his new girlfriend, and at one point I thought, “hm.. he’s kinda cute” – his endearing expressions and soft voice make him the classic ‘big softy’.
Time and time again, I wondered about this. Every time James Corden opened his mouth, I watched very closely the lip synch and actual vocals being extracted. I say this in the most non “ah, he’s bloody miming” way – but – he mimed. I’ve looked into this online, and apparently James had to mime the singing of Paul Potts. Honestly, if he had trained his voice and belted out the actual opera, this may have pushed his talents and my opinion on the actor may have completely changed. The scene where he sings in front of Pavarotti made me flinch; mainly due to James being incredibly off-synch at one point and didn’t quite get the mime correct.
ooh, how strange – James lost a few stone before the bike-crash scene!
..oh yes, stunt double.
Useful things, those.
The casting for One Chance was rather splendid. Julie Walters nails anything she’s in, and delivered once again as heartwarmingly supportive mother Mrs Potts. And Colm Meaney stepped it up a notch as aggressive, unsupportive father Mr Potts. The ‘you never saw in anything before, but is suddenly everywhere’ actress Alexandra Roach is excellent. She plays Paul’s girlfriend (and soon-to-be wife) Julie-Ann, without fault. In actual fact, I think she was better than Mr Corden himself with the acting – she was quaint, loveable and at times, very funny which made a brilliant concoction.
But why Paul Potts?
Why did someone, somewhere decide to suddenly make a film based on Paul Potts’ life? There are so many other memorable results of Britain’s Got Talent; so are we having a movie titled ‘Brought To The Boil’ (for Susan Boyle), maybe ‘Step-Up, Then Step Down’ for dance group Diversity, or even ‘Light Of My Life’ for visual group Attraction.
This element remains a mystery to me. But hey, good old Paul Potts can stick the DVD of Once Chance on his shelf, and at least revel in the fact he’s had his life printed on disc.
I personally would’ve chosen Susan Boyle. Mainly for the whole emotional aspectas well as shock & surprise the world got when she opened her mouth. Plus, Paul Potts may have been something of an underdog in life, but at least he was married and settled; poor Susan was alone, single but then literally turned ‘rags to riches’ within hours. Her explosive shot to fame would be brilliant to see on film.
Yet what’s so great about Paul Potts?.. he lost 4lb and got his teeth done. How eventful.
Although Paul visiting Venice, meeting Luciano Pavarotti and terrifying hospitalisation proved eventful, the Britain’s Got Talent part of the movie was the most exciting (says it all, really). We basically got a ‘cut & paste’ job of real footage, blended with James Corden standing on stage singing.
I wondered how this section would pan out; I sat there intrigued as we got a shot of Simon Cowell – then a shot of James Corden on stage.. then back to Amanda and Piers, before panning back to James. Having the show’s theme tune blast out across an auditorium of cinema-goers was surreal. It was unique in itself, and seemed to be edited rather well.
One of the final scenes sees Mrs Potts and Julie-Ann rush Paul down the BGT corridor – which actually saw the movie pick up speed; unfortunately they seemed to outshine Corden massively when it came to the acting. But thank Christ they were there.
Casting James Corden as the lead role. He just cannot seem to break out of his cliché ‘downtrodden, not overly attractive, but has a heart of Gold’ role. And the miming – I hoped James would splinter his career and break through as a wonderful singer. He did not.
Casting Julie Walters, Alexandra Roach, and Colm Meaney. The scenes which created pure cringeworthy moments were very enjoyable. If you’re very much into singing / opera & composers / live entertainment you may just love this movie.
Overall, One Chance is watchable – but largely forgettable. I would urge potential viewers not to pay to see this film, but to wait until its out for rental.