Dir. Tom Vaughan.
James McAvoy confirms hisposition as Britain's brightest newcomer in StarterFor Ten, a solid, rather endearing comedy, basedaround
Undoubtedly set for brisk businesslater this year in the UK- where the show is an institution - this college-set pieceshould push all the right buttons with affluent moviegoers in their 30s and40s, drawn by, among other elements, a knowing soundtrack that features TheSmiths, The Cure and Bananarama among others(although the story itself features less of the quiz programmethan some audiences might expect).
Starter For Ten may do well theatrically elsewhere, but this willdepend strongly on marketing and word-of-mouth. It lacks the Andie MacDowell/Julia Robertscasting angle of a Four Weddings (theex-lover scene is practically repeated here) or a Notting Hill, yet has the same kind of charm.
Ancillary, especially TV,should be good across the board. Starter For Ten may be a standard boy-meets-girls, boy-chooses-wrong-girl,discovers-right-girl romantic comedy at heart, but McAvoy'seasy charm in the lead role should not be under-estimated, and Nicholls'screenplay is brisk and funny.
McAvoy plays Brian Jackson, a working class resident of southernEnglish working-class resort Southend, who is thefirst in his family to go to university - in particular,
There he meets beautifulmiddle-class Joanna Lumley-lookalike Alice (Eve), whoquickly becomes the love, or like, of his life. A hilarious New Year's Eveencounter with her naked parents (Dance and Duncan) frustrates his romanticintentions, however, and Brian finds himself slipping at study, losing contactwith his childhood friends, and having a typical college crisis about who he is and where he is going. Only his new friend Rebecca(Hall) seems to understand him. One of Brian's destinations, of course, is thetelevised quiz, where his life abruptly comes into focus.
McAvoy is ably backed by strong supporting turns, inparticular from his University Challengeteam-mates, and the cast and plot make for a winning combination.
The location shots feelauthentic (especially Brian's home and college digs) and there's an authentic feelof the whole proceedings thanks to strong production credits.
Scamp Film And Theatre
David Nicholls, from his novel