One Chance is the feel-good film based on the feel-good story of Paul Potts, a real-life mobile-phone-shop clerk from a steel town in Wales and a closeted opera buff who sang arias when no one was around to taunt him. In 2007, on the premiere season of Britain's Got Talent, Potts toddled onstage and proceeded to wow Simon Cowell and his fellow judges with "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot.
The rest is history - and a royal performance, and a bunch of best-selling albums.
David Frankel's warm-and-fuzzy movie is about how Potts - played with affable huffing and puffing by James Corden, soon to replace Craig Ferguson on CBS's The Late Late Show - went from being a wobbly klutz with the self-esteem of a tea towel to the tabloid sensation of the United Kingdom. It's a story rife with flashbacks and setbacks, gulps of courage, and a girlfriend (Alexandra Roach) who believed when no one else would.
There's a side trip to Venice, where Potts takes a master class with Pavarotti - a fantasy-come-true, but one that doesn't have a storybook ending, even if there is a beautiful maiden (Valeria Bilello) with whom to share a duet.
It's not hard to see where One Chance is going, even if you come to Frankel and screenwriter Justin Zackham's inspirational hoo-ha with no knowledge of who Potts is and what he achieved. But it's also not hard to come away with a goosebumpy tingle and a smile. Feel-good stories feel good for a reason, and this one is practically operatic.
Directed by David Frankel. With James Corden, Alexandra Roach, Mackenzie Crook, Valeria Bilello, Julie Walters. Distributed by the Weinstein Co.
Running time: 1 hour, 43 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (profanity, sex, adult themes).
Playing at: Bryn Mawr Film Institute.EndText