One Chance  (2013)    35/100

Rating :   35/100                                                                     103 Min        12A

I’m very tempted to say James Corden has already had his one chance with ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’ (09) which was one of the direst films I have ever seen in my life – no hyperbole, but he at least has the saving grace of not having been involved with its screenplay. Here, he embodies the opera singer Paul Potts who rose to international prominence by winning the first ever ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ TV competition in 2007. Now, given that it is painfully (perhaps even disturbingly) obvious here that it is not him singing and that he equally cannot do the accent required (all the more emphasized by the fact he is surrounded by actors who either can or for whom it is their natural accent anyway. Bizarrely Potts is depicted as growing up in Port Talbot in Wales here and Corden’s lack of anything approaching a decent Welsh accent is astounding – and yet Potts is actually a Bristolian and not only didn’t move to Wales until later on in life, but also does not have a Welsh accent, so if they hadn’t butchered his real life story Corden’s accent would have been fine. Crazy) the reasons for his casting would seem to be whittled down to naught more than the extra layer of insulation he has lovingly nurtured (notwithstanding the Tony award he won in the States last year, minor detail). Something which we are visually treated to in all its fleshy glory on more than one occasion.

Was it not possible to find a vocally gifted actor that could just shove a pillow up his jumper? Or a young opera talent who could passably pull off the dialogue? Actually, just the pillow singing by itself would be more believable – unfortunately the leading man leads this film straight down the pan, and it is only due to the supporting cast that it manages to deliver any sort of reward or emotional engagement whatsoever, with most of the first half just cringe worthy. Alexandra Roach (pictured above) is wonderful, and it is her that’s largely responsible for saving the movie from complete incineration, together with a bit of help from Colm Meaney, Julie Walters and Mackenzie Crook. The fact that the film also takes enormous liberties with the actual life of Potts, including not mentioning previous employment with local government in Bristol for seven years and multiple opera tours before appearing on television, together with the knowledge that the movie is partly produced by the man behind the talent show Mr Simon Cowell himself, just drives the final nails into its coffin.

One of the other producers for the film – big Hollywood player Harvey Weinstein, aka ‘The Punisher’, was actually responsible for pitching the role to Corden, but then in rehearsals immediately called his main actor ‘tone deaf’ before hiring Potts himself to do the voice over (he should really have just played himself) and then, astoundingly, having this to say to the MailOnline about the final product – “James is definitely up for a Golden Globe or Oscar: it’s that kind of performance.” Is he deliberately trying to sabotage his career? Corden is actually due to appear in two upcoming big budget films where he will be singing, so this slight debacle will probably be forgotten about soon enough …

When I began writing this review, it became apparent whoever care takes the imdb page for the film was also not a fan of it, with any clicks around the top of the page directing to different lesbian films. Sadly, these links have been removed now – but to save the affront to your patience that watching this film would entail, you can find the clip below of the actual performance from Potts that got him his place in the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ show (apparently it’s one of the most watched clips on YouTube) thus extracting the best bit from the movie, and another more recent clip from the same show which is also worth a gander …

James Corden is definitely up for a Golden Globe or Oscar it’s that kind of performance.”

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