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Starring in the real-life story of Britain’s Got Talent opera star Paul Potts, James Corden has a wavering accent (“Fank you”), but never mind—he could do the whole thing in rhyming cockney slang and still win you over. He gives a gorgeous performance as 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 meat grinder. Awkward details have been changed or erased, and they’ve eliminated his siblings, which might have made things more interesting. The filmmakers seem desperate to hatch the next Billy Elliot, turning their protagonist into a chubby, lovable unknown who triumphs over adversity. In fact, Potts was a city councillor by age 26. It all seems calculated to get us swooning over those quirky Brits with their funny accents eating pies in their little pubs.

The best moments come when Paul falls in love with his future wife, Julz (Alexandra Roach). The two meet online, and when they come face to face, they end up at his parents’ place for lunch. “Couldn’t you eat him up?” says his mom (or mum, if you’re in the mood). Replies his dad: “You’d need a couple of sittings.”

By: Cath Clarke

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Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday October 10 2014
Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Justin Zackham
Cast: MacKenzie Crook
Julie Walters
Colm Meaney
James Corden
Alexandra Roach
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