October 24, 2013 6:02 pm

One Chance – film review

James Corden stars in the tearjerking story of singer Paul Potts
Mackenzie Crook and James Corden in 'One Chance'

Mackenzie Crook and James Corden in 'One Chance'

One Chance motors sentimentally but endearingly through the story of Paul Potts, the Carphone Warehouse salesman from Bristol whose tenor voice won Britain’s Got Talent. Potts’s home has been moved to Wales, presumably for Americans. (They know Wales gave them Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. They evidently don’t know Bristol gave them Cary Grant.)

Potts conquered UK television’s top talent show with “Nessun dorma” and later sold 2m albums. I had never heard of him before – evidence of sheltered life – but I was wet-eyed by the end, like many. The film pulls tears the way a barman pulls pints: proficiently, pragmatically. “The usual?” “Yes, please. True-life triumph over odds – and make it overflow at the end.”

James Corden is robustly likeable and, when needed, emotionally flibbertigibbet. Unimaginable that anyone could play the role better. By contrast the casting of Julie Billy Elliot Walters as Paul’s go-for-it mum merely proves that the makers’ imagination didn’t stretch far, elsewhere, beyond the typecasting Rolodex.

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