Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
One Chance tells the inspirational true story of Paul Potts, a man whose lack of confidence threatened to halt his passion for singing. His fantastic voice was eventually given a life-changing pedestal when he was chosen to audition for the first season of Britain’s Got Talent, a competition he ended up winning.
This all probably sounds like an easy win on paper. An under-dog story based on the winner of a hugely successful television talent show. What can go wrong? Well, let One Chance demonstrate.
One Chance tries to be a feel-good film. It really tries. In fact, it tries so hard that it ends up being irritatingly obnoxious and almost patronizing in its attempt to win the crowd. From the cheesy opening, showing that Potts is bullied by the same guy (!?) from childhood to his adult years, to the painfully fluffy treatment of Potts’ first date with Julie-Ann Cooper (a girl he met online), this film manages to miss the mark in just about every single attempt to be likable.
The main issue is that everything rings false. Many factors portrayed may be true, but the heavy-handed delivery doesn’t exactly feel realistic. Potts’ father is stereotypically portrayed as a tough blue-collar worker that dislikes his son’s passion for opera. His quip-ready mother supports him, when she’s not making random comments about her sex-life. Potts’ best friend is included for jokes and the awkward addition of a recurring bully doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Potts himself is a likeable, but ultimately dull, character. Actor James Corden does a decent job with what he has to work with, but the screenplay just doesn’t allow for any sort of depth. It’s hard to root for a character that doesn’t ever seem to rise above the clichés. It doesn’t help that his emotions seem so childish either. Sad, depressed, overly happy and then cutesy – all in one scene. Luckily, Potts’ girl fares better. Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady) manages to raise her character above the “loving-supporting-girlfriend” stereotype, but only just.
The plot unravels slowly and predictably. We know where it’s headed, so we’re wanting to understand more about what this man went through in his journey. No luck. For example, Potts’ key experiences in Italy couldn’t be more poorly explored. More of an excuse to show tourist attractions in eye-rolling montages, this entire middle section ultimately doesn’t add a thing to the plot. A weakly added sub-plot of a new love-interest is fruitless, showing that Potts is a nice guy – in case you hadn’t got that point yet. Ah, that’s right. The whole point of this section is to show that Potts fails to sing for his idol, Luciano Pavarotti. Even though he can clearly sing in a bar full of drunkards loudly ridiculing him.
Potts’ story could have been told much better than this. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see Britain’s Got Talent co-creator Simon Cowell credited as one of the film’s producers. Seriously, the entire thing comes across an elongated contestant “background” snippet. Formulaic and cringe-worthy to the extreme, One Chance – has lost just that.
THE REEL SCORE: 3/10