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Starter for Ten

September 9, 2010

Starter for Ten (2006)
Director: Tom Vaughan
Actors: James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, Alice Eve

Synopsis: Brian Jackson (James McAvoy) is a hapless undergraduate with a handy knack for trivia. This comes to his aid when he applies to be on his university’s University Challenge team….

Review: Though Starter for Ten absolutely flogs to death the goodwill of its Eighties nostalgia theme with a cacophony of obvious soundtrack choices and product placement gags, it is largely permissible because the source novel itself was a shameless (if well-written) exercise in such populist sentimentalising. At a lean ninety minutes, the film bounces along breezily enough without losing much in terms of narrative meat from the original story. Expert performances by a big-name cast including James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dominic Cooper certainly helps matters, although some of the relentlessly grotty and unglamorous aspects of the novel are glossed over in casting McAvoy as the calamitous hero, and Rebecca Hall as the supposedly anarchic and grungy girl that eventually wins McAvoy’s heart. (November 2009)

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