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Underdog in ‘Chance’ battles but has his day

  • THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
    James Corden stars in “One Chance.”
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Before Susan Boyle there was Paul Potts, a schlubby car-phone salesman from Wales who blew Simon Cowell and his fellow judges away on the first episode of "Britain’s Got Talent" with his rendition of Puccini’s aria "Nessun Dorma."

‘ONE CHANCE’
Rated: PG-13
* *  1/2
Opens Friday at Kahala 8

The son of a steelworker with a chipped front tooth and the voice of an angel won that first season of the reality show, but his progression through the competition is just an afterthought in "One Chance," the story of his life leading to the life-changing moment that’s been viewed on YouTube more than 110 million times.

Paul (played by Tony Award-winner James Corden) actually gets several chances to pursue his passion: studying in Venice, where he chokes during a master class with his idol, Luciano Pavarotti; scoring the lead in an amateur production of "Aida" only to be struck with appendicitis and a tumor on his thyroid; regaining his voice months later only to suffer massive injuries in a major car accident.

Despite neighborhood bullies and a disapproving father (Colm Meaney), he perseveres with the love of his utterly charming wife, Julz (the adorable Alexandra Roach), a delightful sense of humor and that voice (Potts’ own vocals were used in the film).

Director David Frankel has crafted a sweet, funny, heartfelt film, and while we may know all along how it all turns out, Potts’ signature performance still gives us chills.

Review by Annlee Ellingson, Los Angeles Times

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