The true story of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Paul Potts (James Corden). The biopic charts Paul’s rise to fame from his humble beginnings as a shop assistant in the Carphone Warehouse in his home town of Port Talbot. Covered are his failed chances and his disappointment in front of his idol Pavarotti and finding his one true love several miles down the road. Also his unforeseeable accidents that plague his return to singing and the stage. This finally leads up to his application for the talent show to achieve his lifelong dream against all the odds.
When music mogul Simon Cowell spoke about putting the life story of the first ever winner of Britain’s Got Talent onto the big screen it seemed like a strange, but also intriguing idea. If anyone could pull off a film like that and make it a hit it is Cowell. Also releasing it through The Weinstein Company meant it would receive worldwide exposure from a company who know how to promote the smaller movies into bigger hits and awards winners.
However, the issue with One Chance is how to you make a biopic about a life story that isn’t that extraordinary? Sure there are some setbacks in Potts life, but nothing that a lot of people haven’t overcome before. And this is the issue with the film; it chugs along at a steady pace without any peril or tense. Not because we already know the outcome but just because it’s not a very interesting back-story, the one vaguely interesting part is Paul’s scholarship to Vienna. Yet even that feels like a jolly holiday only let down at the last minute by his hero Pavarotti not thinking he is ready just yet.
The scenes at Britain’s Got Talent are rushed through, as is his life afterwards, all accumulating in the space of about fifteen minutes. We do get to hear Potts sing as the vocals are overdubbed during the musical numbers, yet even this looks weird and totally out of place with how Corden moves his mouth.
The casting of James Corden as Paul Potts is maybe as close as could be managed. Corden runs through the motions but it’s not his fault it’s an uninteresting storyline. Mackenzie Crook has so very little to do apart from help his mate out in the shop from time to time. Yet, somehow Colm Meaney has even fewer screen minutes and comes off looking like a father who doesn’t like his son. It’s a disappointing portrayal that ends up having a redemption moment to show he isn’t all bad.
One Chance ambles along at a pace that has no really worry about it. The life story, whilst a struggle for the real Paul Potts, just feels like there is no real danger and means it’s a biopic that doesn’t transfer well to the big screen.