Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Movie with Abe: One Chance

One Chance
Directed by David Frankel
Released October 10, 2014

It’s always nice to see a feel-good movie every once in a while. It’s easy to appreciate an underdog story, and “One Chance” definitely fits that bill. The story of Paul Potts (James Corden), an unfortunately-named cell phone salesman who dreams of doing nothing but singing opera, is an enjoyable and affirming tale of endurance and perseverance against all odds. Its big finish may not be a surprise, particularly because it actually happened, but it’s still fun to watch Paul overcome years of bullying and people thinking he couldn’t accomplish anything to become an astonishing singing talent.

Paul begins narrating his story amicably, demonstrating his lifelong love for singing by showcasing him in his church choir at a young age. That image is contrasted by the sight of him running away from a group of cruel classmates intent on making his life miserable and punishing him for his particular interests. As Paul grows up and becomes a teenager, not much has changed: he still sings with his church choir and still faces off against the same bullies who torment him day after day. Paul’s life begins to turn around when his unambitious boss Braddon (Mackenzie Crook) makes an uninvited contribution to his love life, shepherding the girlfriend he has only texted with to his door, in the form of the adorable Julz (Alexandra Roach).

From that point, Paul has another purpose in life, though singing and fulfilling his dream does always take center stage. A more than pleasant relationship with Julz ensures that, even at his lowest moments after obstacles thrown him to the ground, Paul is not alone. And when it’s time for that inevitable comeback, it’s impossible not to cheer at Paul’s utter surprise at his own success, modest and simply happy to be given the opportunity to perform and do what he loves most.

Corden is a fantastic choice to portray Paul as a likeable hero who looks down on no one. Corden, a BAFTA- and Tony-winning actor, is next slated to take over Craig Ferguson’s late night talk show when he retires, a fitting role for a truly charming personality. Roach is a delight, and Crook, odd as ever, is superb as Braddon, adding much comedy to the story. Julie Walters and Colm Meaney are wonderful in small but important roles as Paul’s parents. It’s hard not to like this film, and though it may not be cinema at its most magnificent, it’s a surefire crowdpleaser.


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