One Chance

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24/12/14

Biopics are a notoriously difficult medium in which to score a cinematic hit, especially when the subject of said biopic is not particularly famous. Paul Potts’ singular claim to fame is that he was the winner of the very first series of Britain’s Got Talent. Since then, he’s remained pretty much out of the public eye, though by all accounts, he’s doing quite well for himself.

This film follows Paul (James Corden) through his episodes of childhood bullying, his inability to please his steelworker father (Colm Meany), his more sympathetic relationship with his mother (a criminally underused Julie Walters) his days as a salesman at Carphone Warehouse and his on-off romance with Julz (the ever-delightful Alexandra Roach.) Matters come to a head when, on a self-financed opera-course in Venice, despite showing considerable promise, his nerves eventually get the better of him when asked to perform for his hero, Pavarotti. There are also a couple on incidents of incredible bad luck which seem solely designed to put him off pursuing opera-singing as a career. Corden does a good job of making us care about Potts (indeed, it’s hard to understand why such large numbers of the general public reserve levels of contempt for this actor that would seem more suited to a fascist dictator.) While One Chance is hardly world-shattering stuff, it’s nonetheless an enjoyable slice of entertainment that actually managed to make me listen to the words of Simon Cowell without breaking out in hives.

The film died at the box office and it’s easy to see why – after all, who was it aimed at? Too trivial for opera-lovers, too serious for fans of BGT, too obscure for those who enjoy a good biopic. But nonetheless, this makes for decent family viewing on DVD.

3.8 stars

Philip Caveney

3.9 stars

Philip Caveney

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