September 8th, 2007


Starter For 10

A film about University Challenge! How brilliant is that?

Not very, in case you were wondering. The premise: James McAvoy wants to be clever, and learns as much as he can. He gets into Bristol Uni in 1985, meets young-Emma Thompson-esque Rebecca Hall and volunteers for the local UC team. As does young-Joanna Lumley-esque Alice Eve. There is much gaucheness as AcAvoy falls for stunning Eve (if this were an American film, she'd be a cheerleader) while Hall picks up the pieces of his naivety and Eve's insincerity. Guess where this is going?

There are problems with this film. The first is that it's chock-full of cringe-making moments, from Freshers Week onwards, and although it tries to be a comedy, I only recall one actual good line. The second is that the main crisis-point near the climax of the film relies on McAvoy being out of character, when the film actually set up a much better explanation. Well, not so good in terms of drama, but one that doesn't break character.

Finally, it's annoying for none of the characters to make the observation that recall of facts does not equate to either intelligence nor cleverness. It made me think of The Diary of Adrian Mole.
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