Going Potty about Opera…
A biopic about Paul Potts, a Welshman with a big operatic dream who won the first series of Britain’s Got Talent.
ONE CHANCE starring James Corden – EXCLUSIVE Full Trailer – Britain’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent
My newest guilty pleasure is One Chance (2013) starring America’s apparently International Treasure, actor and presenter, James Corden. As most of the whole world apparently adore this man, but he’s not for me. It’s nothing personal, he’s just one actor that annoys me. I had a friend with a similar phobia but it was to an actress in Coronation Street (1960-) and her jumpers. So maybe it’s a girl thing.
Since then it’s been a running joke with Darlin’ Husband, be it him telling my mother-in-law Corden was my fave actor. She obviously thought my protests were in jest – meaning I had to politely sit through his not very funny comedy The Wrong Mans (2013). He also chose it as it has Colin Meaney in it. But that’s another story. And yes, I’ll confess that I do like both actors in this one.
The DVD of this film, I admit had been spotted by me earlier, selling for 3 euros in Bargain Bin here in our wee, cold Finnish town. A mental note had been made to hide it in case such a viewing would take place, but in a cruel twist of fate, it caught up with me. There is another big reason this is a guilty pleasure, which can be found as you read on.
The film is a biopic about the first winner of – the other reason – Britain’s Got Talent (2007-)’s Paul Potts or as we know it in our household Britain’s Not Got Talent. To be fair we’ve never really watched it, but a mutual friend raves about it and apparently, there is some talent in there. And we’re not talking the presenters’ Ant and Dec. So I’ll believe her. Albeit after seeing this film.
Britain’s Got Talent is a talent show where you can vote on the winning act after they’ve been whittled down to some final hopefuls. It’s presented by Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. And the Great British public have a say too, that is if they don’t mind calling a really expensive number then hearing “Your Vote is registered. Thanks for voting”.
Cowell is the bad cop of the lot, he’s now a bit of a pantomime villain but clad in his jeans and tee-shirt combo. 9 times out of 10, he’s critical but to the point. “Well that was shit” is uttered and probably cut from the show then replaced with nicer ways of saying shit. Amanda Holden is the “glamorous” mother figure type, not MILF by any means but there with the tissues and the sympathy as required. And Piers Morgan is… well you know.
So One Chance, takes us to Port Talbot birthplace of Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Rob Brydon. There we meet young Paul, singing the school choir and collapsing. In the hospital, we are introduced to his mum (Britain’s National Treasure, Julie Walters) and dad (Used to be Gene Hunt, Colm Meaney). Also seems young Paul is being bullied constantly by his arch-enemy and his cronies in a time-lapse montage ending with Corden as Paul.
Flashforward a bit, and we find him working for a mobile phone chain store and obsessed with opera. He also has a fabulous musical voice, which mum encourages him and dad doesn’t. Cliché maybe but part of the story. Paul is also in love with a lass he’s met on t’internet. Who he only knows as Cameron.. as in Diaz. Paul’s been telling her he looks like Brad Pitt (don’t they all?) and they’ve still to meet.
Best friend, Braddon – limelight stealing MacKenzie Crook – “accidentally” arranges a meeting for them. Paul meets Cameron, who to his (and our) relief turns out to be a pretty brunette named Julz (Alexandra Roach). They get on tremendously well. During the day, he talks opera, opera and more opera. Paul tells her his dream, that he hopes to attend Opera School in Venice and sing for Pavarotti. En route to a pub for lunch, they bump into his mum. Mum invites her for lunch, where Julz meets dad too.
After lunch, Paul takes her to his room and.. they listen to opera. She asks him to sing for her, but he bottles out. They kiss sweetly at the station, as she leaves to go home. After entering an amateur talent show he wins..and gets his dream. He’s in touch with Julz constantly and tells her all of his life in Venice. They flirt over the phone and appear to be getting closer.
He is paired off to duet with a hot Italian girl, who is ambitious and threatens Paul with repercussions if he sings better than her. After lots of successful rehearsals, she kisses him unexpectedly. Paul turns her down for Julz. He loses his nerve as he sings for Pavarotti, and dries up singing in front of his hero. His dreams are dashed further when he’s told he won’t make it as an opera singer.
He’s also been in touch with Julz constantly before this and rejects her calls feeling a failure. He returns home to a job in the steelworks – arranged by his dad – and no girlfriend. Julz rejects his calls. After some encouragement from Braddon, Paul gets a job in his old working place and goes to try to make up with Julz. Paul tries to talk to her at work, Julz is curt and polite.. he waits for her til she finishes work. She tells him of her hurt and walks off, so Paul sings opera to her… and tune in elsewhere for the rest of this underdog made good tale.
This is a surprisingly great feel-good biopic. The writing was superb with many, many great comic moments mixed with some drama. It was lighthearted, and despite what some may see as fat sensitive jokes, these did not come over as malicious. Corden was convincing as Potts physically and gave a heartfelt performance showing the highs and lows of Potts’ life.
Roach gave a lovely, sweet performance as Julz, she was supportive and showed a great rapport with Corden in their scenes together. Walters as Paul’s mum, carried on her role in Billy Elliot as she encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Walters also provided some fun moments. However special praise must go to Crook who gave a wonderful, comic performance throughout leading to laugh out loud moments in every scene he appeared in.
But finally, Meaney stole the film with some well-delivered one-liners and some sensitively played scenes too. Despite the familiarity of his role – in most of his scenes. I’d seen his character’s traits before as the unencouraging father. Similar father figures are seen in Billy Elliot (2000) and Eddie the Eagle (2016).
However if you remember the full remit of this character as the cliché of the disapproving father (who changes his mind by the end of the film after son excels at ice jumping/ballet/opera).. you’ll love the touching scene where Meaney’s character softens. As remember
it the film ain’t over, til the fat lady guy sings.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦😦 😦 😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10