On your mark, get set — oh, never mind

Starter for 10

on March 09, 2007 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), a working-class boy newly accepted to university in the 1980s, learns some valuable lessons about life and love even as he competes in England's most prominent quiz show. No wonder Tom Hanks signed on as a producer of this British movie; in intent and resolution it follows the easy, deliberate path of so many simplistic U.S. coming-of-age productions. Will Brian finally settle on the blond, glamorous, WASP Alice (Alice Eve) or the passionate, down-to-earth Jewish Rebecca (Rebecca Hall)? (No surprises there.) And you just know that something dramatic but edifying will happen on the way to the quiz show finals. Starter for 10 doesn't even do justice to its era, relying too much on its New Age soundtrack to evoke emotion and merely paying lip service to the political issues of the day -- one could effortlessly update it to the present by substituting antiwar slogans for the movie's anti-nuke ones. It is uniformly well acted, but the cast deserves better than this prepackaged, artificially preserved concoction. Distributor: Picturehouse
Cast: James McAvoy, Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall, Lindsay Duncan and Charles Dance
Director: Tom Vaughan
Screenwriter: David Nicholls
Producers: Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Pippa Harris
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language and a scene of drug use
Running time: 96 min.
Release date: February 23, 2007
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