18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Decent, likeable movie,
This review is from: Starter For 10 [DVD]  (DVD)
In a nutshell: Set in the mid-80s, James McAvoy plays Brian Jackson, a working-class Essex boy with a thirst for knowledge who realises a dream to go to university (in this case Bristol) and enter University Challenge. On the way he falls in love with a beautiful blonde member of the quiz team but ultimately realises it's the plainer, but still attractive, brunette who is the girl for him - a la 'Gregory's Girl'.
Fear not, the above `love twist' I revealed won't spoil the plot for you. It's made blatantly clear within the first 15 minutes that this is what will happen. And that's maybe the problem with the movie - it's all a bit predictable and safe - save for a fantastic twist in the University Challenge studios.
It has nice performances from James McAvoy and Dominic Cooper, both set for future stardom, and the cast includes the always fantastic John Henshaw wearing a dodgy `tache. I must also mention the frighteningly realistic portrayal of Bamber Gascoigne by Mark 'League of Gentleman' Gatiss and Catherine Tate's sympathetic turn as Brian's mother.
Adapted by David Nicholls from his own book, the film isn't particular smart enough, funny enough or romantic enough to be a major entry in either the rom-com or just plain comedy classic stakes. But on its own limited terms it's a watchable and likeable enough movie to while away a spare hour and a half. `Starter for Ten' is a joint effort by the BBC and HBO and boasts a production credit for a certain Mr Tom Hanks. And if you're of a `certain age' you'll probably enjoy the not bad soundtrack of early to mid-80s hits by British artists.