You can take the boy out of Essex… James Corden’s accent goes a bit ‘Gavin and Stacey’ (‘fank you’) playing ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ opera star Paul Potts. Never mind, he could do the whole thing in rhyming slang and still win you over. He gives a gorgeous, ah-bless performance as Potts – the shy Carphone Warehouse manager from Wales who wiped the smirk off Simon Cowell’s face in 2007.
The problem with the film is that Potts’s life story has been put through the Hollywood meatgrinder. Awkward details have been changed or erased – they’ve made Potts Welsh (he grew up in Bristol) and eliminated his siblings. The filmmakers seem desperate to make the next ‘Billy Elliot’ and turn Potts into a lovable loser who triumphs over adversity; in fact he was a Lib Dem councillor at 26. It all seems calculated to get Americans swooning over the quirky little Brits with their funny accents eating pies in their little pubs.
The best bits come when Potts falls in love with his future wife, Julz (the brilliant Alexandra Roach). The two meet online and when they come face to face, they end up round his parents’ place for lunch. ‘Couldn’t you eat him up,’ says his mum. ‘You’d need a couple of sittings,’ replies his dad.