November 14, 2008 (NY)
Beyond Films, Ferndale Films, Lipsync Productions, Head Gear Films
Joss Ackland, Hayley Atwell, Orla Brady, Brenda Fricker, Elizabeth Moynihan, Joan O'Hara, Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton
Director: Anthony Byrne
Screenwriter: Jean Pasley
Genre: Comedy, Drama
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April 29, 2012 - 08:17
After a drunken adcecint beginning with a dance in ya underpants a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business, rock star Paul Kerr, formerly with the Love Rats, a hard rock outfit with fluffed out 80 s hairdo, discovers that he had fathered a child through a woman who attended a concert of his in 1987. That child, Olivia, is now sixteen (guess who?) and has a gift for singing, and it's only because of his adcecint, that her mother, Rebecca, still nursing a bitter grudge and a broken heart, reluctantly admits that Paul is her father. Rebecca's bitterness comes from the fact that she wrote Paul letters that she was pregnant, letters never answered. Furthermore, her father, a tough, bearded, septuagenarian who plays 50 s rock and roll and blues, goes by the stage name Evil Edmonds, fronts a band called the Beelze-Bobs, was on the road too much to be a good parent to her, and as a result, Rebecca is barely civil with her own father. In fact, Rebecca was born on the tour bus the Bobs use for their gigs! She is a single mother and also an entrepreneur, running a hairdressing salon named Cheeky Chops (nice name!) with a gay colleague. Paul's adcecint leads him to turn his life around. The Love Rats' ex-drummer, a chipper Australian named Digger, hears the news and tries to get his bandmate off the wagon. Olivia, who wants to sing instead of doing nails and hair, visits her father to get to know him better. However, her mother associates the music business with the same atmosphere that led to her pregnancy and protective of Olivia, forbids Paul to see their daughter. After all, where was he when she was raising Olivia? The best way to get to know her father is to listen to her music, and Olivia buys the Love Rats' hit album, Lost Woman, the rear of which has the dedication To Rebecca, meaning that Paul did care, but Rebecca sees that as a sign that Olivia's traveling down the same road as her father. As an acting debut, it's not much for Charlotte Church, but she acquits herself in that she doesn't play the usual pouting, rebellious teenager railing against Mum, Dad, and Grandpa. She's cute driving around in her pink moped with matching helmet to boot. Her Welsh accent comes through, not a debit as she's playing a half-Scot. And oh yes, does Charlotte sing! Apart from Summertime from Porgy and Bess, which can be found on her eponymous album, she does three new songs, In Hebrid Seas, the creamy Mariah-like ballad Would I Know? , and an acoustic and full-blown versions of the Four Tops Reach Out (I'll Be There). That latter is Rebecca's favourite song, hence the title. Walter Afanasieff of Mariah fame produced and arranged those new songs, with Diane Warren penning Would I Know? and if Charlotte decides to record again, that sounds like a logical next step in her career. I was used to seeing Jemma Redgrave as the progressive, romantic idealist female doctor in the Victorian era series Bramwell. Quite a change for her, especially with blonde hair. As Rebecca, she does well portraying someone who is still stung by the past, which affects the expectations she has for her daughter. Ralph Brown (Digger) has a great rapport with Craig Ferguson (Paul), and interacts well with Charlotte. But it's Joss Ackland as Evil Esmond who's the real surprise. After playing heavies (White Mischief, Lethal Weapon 2, Sherlock Holmes:Copper Beeches), he's quite a delight as a rock-and-roller still singing songs like the Leiber-Stoller standard Trouble. And that's Phyllida Law, Emma Thompson's mother, as Ms. Williams, Charlotte's vocal coach. This cute comedy sadly didn't make it my local theatre. Given that it was Charlotte Church's film debut, I would've gone on opening day. Not a classic by any means, but it's still a delightful number benefiting from the performances, and some funny lines all around. Most people might give this 3.5 stars, but fans of Charlotte might boost this to 4 or 4.3.