Friday, 14 December 2018

Corden is the man to watch

JAMES CORDEN seems to be everywhere right now. He is the writer and co-star of just about the funniest show

JAMES CORDEN seems to be everywhere right now. He is the writer and co-star of just about the funniest show to hit our small screens for years, BBC2’s The Wrong Mans. And in recent days he’s been popping up on every radio and TV chat show imaginable to promote his latest foray into film. The fat boy who made his mark on the world as co-writer of Gavin And Stacey is undoubtedly the man of the moment.

One Chance, it seems, could well have been written with him in mind as the leading man. This is the story of Paul Potts, the tenor from Port Talbot, whose talent as an opera star remained undiscovered for years. Even a masterclass in Venice with Luciano Pavarotti got the thumbs-down, and he was told he would never make it. His natural coyness and stage fright didn’t help either. It wasn’t until one day, while idly browsing the internet and a pop-up advertising Britain’s Got Talent pinged before his eyes that he got his lucky break.

What followed was the kind of rags-to-riches story that Hollywood thrives on. The mobile phone salesman won the talent show with a tear-jerking rendition of Nessun Dorma and his debut album, One Chance, went to number one, selling 3.5 million copies. He is said to be worth £7 million now, although his record deals and popularity in the UK have recently foundered.

This movie has top-notch Hollywood names behind it. The producer, Harvey Weinstein, bought up the rights to Potts’ story and appointed David Frankel as director, whose previous hits include The Devil Wears Prada.

Corden himself has thrown himself whole-heartedly into the movie, taking a dozen singing lessons from a professional opera singer before being told by the film’s moguls that he’d better learn to mime. In fact, the songs are sung by Potts himself, with Corden lip-synching.

The trailer for this movie just oozes cheese by the bucket-load. His mum, played by Julie Walters, is supportive while his dad (Colm Meaney) is scornful of his son’s ambitions, and tries to convince him a life as a welder would be far more profitable.

So far, so predictable (is anyone else thinking Billy Elliot here?). And if you hate the fact that most contestants on the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and the Great British Bake-Off revert to tears/tell a story about their grandmother or pet hamster recently dying, you may well find this hard to swallow.

However it’s a feelgood movie, and Corden is a funny, warm, feeling good kind of chap, and his star is in the ascendancy. We will no doubt be seeing a lot more of him in years to come.

Film: One Chance

Certificate: (12A)

Director: David Frankel


James Corden, Julie Walters, Mackenzie Crook, Simon Cowell

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