Carl C. from INDIANAPOLIS, IN Reviewed on 3/19/2014...
This is a sleeper. The story is great, and you laugh all through the movie. The soundtrack is incredible. Red Hot and Jungle rock are so good we have to back it up and listen to it several times before we proceed with the movie. And Charlotte's voice is perfect. Summertime is a prime example why she is a star. 5 Stars.
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Cute and pleasant acting debut for Charlotte Church
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 07/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After a drunken accident 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 accident, 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 accident 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. "
A warm hearted movie about parents and music
Kali | United Kingdom | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A low budget film, yes, but it really works and I really enjoyed it which surprised me no end.
Once again a plot that is not rocket sciene which is good when you want something ease on the brain to watch.
A washed-up 80's pop star Paul Kerr (Craig Ferguson) who moves to Wales on a spur of the moment decision and in doing so discovers that he has a teenage daughter, Olivia, (Charlotte Church) living in his new backyard.
Olivia was the result of a weekend affair he had with her teenage mother during the height of his fame and his arrival in the small Welsh town unsettles the orderly but now very boring life of his ex-lover Rebecca (Jemma Redgrave).
We are treated to fun galore as Paul tries to get to know his daughter whilst trying to woo her mother back into his arms. Olivia in turn is having her own problems with her mother, Rebecca doesn't want her to become involved in the music industry, her own father is an aging rocker who is always on the road with his band and the man she loved seemingly abandoned her for his career.
Anthony Head (Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Paul's foul breathed manager is a treat, there are some great funny moments, like when Paul finds out that his best friend's girlfriend is Scottish and she just happens to be called Nessie, the scene on the motorbike when Paul and Rebecca race to London to "rescue" their daughter is hilarious, you can see the sparks of attraction flying between them and the scene in the hospital is hysterical along with the pub scene when the locals worry about the possibility of "Americas moving in," not to mention the soundtrack to the film is lovely, especially with all the songs that Charlotte Church brings to life with her glorious voice.
This is a lovely film with a cast of fine characters; look out for Joss Ackland as Rebecca's rock-a-billy father, Phyllida Law as Olivia's teacher and Imelda Staunton in rippingly good form as the po-faced Dr Bridget."
You don't have to be a Charlotte fan to enjoy this film
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 05/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I put off watching this movie for some time. I've had a hard time accepting the fact that the Charlotte Church so many of us fell in love with, seemingly one of the last remaining bastions of wholesomeness and all-around purity in this world, has caught a virulent case of Britney-itis (and has actually sunk even lower than Britney in a fair number of ways) and is seemingly lost to us forever. I'm really quite saddened by the whole situation. Nevertheless, I can still adore the girl Charlotte Church used to be, and, happily, there are traces of that girl immortalized forever in this film. I was actually quite surprised by I'll Be There; Charlotte's no Jodie Foster, but she's a far better actress than I expected her to be, and this really and truly is a good movie. It doesn't take us anywhere we've haven't been before, but it's a fun ride.
Charlotte plays Olivia Edmonds, a teenaged girl who finds out that her father is actually famed aging rock star Paul Kerr (Craig Ferguson), just after he makes headlines for driving his motorcycle out a second story window of his home. Olivia's mother never told her the truth about her father because the relationship was short-lived (Kerr never even knew he had a daughter) and she resents the fact that her own still-rocking father was never there for her growing up. She wants Olivia to join her hairdressing business and stay away from musicians at all costs. We all know Charlotte has the best singing voice in the whole bloody kingdom, but her mother does not realize just how talented her daughter Olivia really is. Anyway, Olivia and Kerr slowly develop a relationship with one another, helped immeasurably by Kerr's decision to stop drinking - but dear old Mum wants nothing to do with the man she's obviously still in love with. Everything comes to a head when Olivia's talent is made manifest, and you can probably fill in the rest yourself.
As I said, I'll Be There doesn't break any new ground, but it's a feel-good movie that succeeds extremely well. Craig Ferguson makes it all work and injects a lot of comedy into everything he does. As writer, director, and star, this really is Ferguson's baby and should have enjoyed more success than it achieved. It even supplies the somewhat disconcerting sight of the Buffyverse's Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) playing a smarmy music agent - earrings and all. Of course, you also have the added attraction of several Charlotte Church songs (even if they do represent her early foray into pop). All told, I'll Be There is a surprisingly entertaining, heart-warming motion picture - and those are few and far between these days."
Likable Low-Key UK Comedy with Scottish Comic & Welsh Singer
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 05/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though you may see the face of Welsh starlet Charlotte Church on the DVD frontcover, 'I'll Be There' belongs to Scottish comic Craig Furguson. In fact, it not only stars him, but it is directed and co-written by him. The film also shows you some of the comparatively little-known but most talented actors.
The film's premise is similar to that of 'What a Girl Wants' starring Amanda Bynes. Well, this is the established pattern. You know, a cute girl Charlotte Church (who likes singing very much ... why not?) comes to know the existence of her long-lost father Craig Furguson, about whom she had not known anything until then, and for some reasons or other the daughter goes to the daddy's house, ignoring her mom's advice, and so on and on.
And in 'I'll Be There,' the daddy is a former rock singer, one Paul Kerr who was popular in the 80s while daughter Olivier is a singer with an angelic voice, most likely heard in a chapel. Because of his 'bipolar' behavior after the suicidal jump from the second storey of his house (riding a motorcycle, after smashing a guitar in 'The Who' fashion), Paul Kerr is sent to a mental institute. That incident starts the belated father-daughter relation between Paul and Olivier, and also re-unites him and his ex-love (and Olivier's mother) Rebecca played by excellent Jemma Redgrave (Vanessa's niece, by the way).
The comedy is a bit slow, and might need patience at first, but Ferguason's low-key comic timing will eventually win over you. Though the story is nothing unique, the small and awfully silly things are said and done by the great cast including Joss Ackland, Ralph Brown, and Imelda Staunton. Perhaps Ms. Staunton is best known for her turn in 'Vera Drake,' but she is very good at comedies (see 'Shakespeare in Love'), and her embarrassed face before the ex-rocker in hospital is delightful to see. And don't forget Phyllida Law, mother of Emma Thompson.
As to Charlotte Church herself, she is not as bad as you might think, for she is not required to do much. One regrettable thing is that the songs included here are not as memorable as they should be. I'm not questioning her talent as singer, but except the chorus version of The Four Tops classic soul music (yes, see the film's title), I didn't find the songs particularly good. But anyway, you can hear her songs somewhere else."
What's wrong with it?
Nicola Jarvis | Herts, UK | 03/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Critics are being awful to this film and it flopped at the cinema and after I watched this DVD I asked myself why. Despite what you may of heard, this film is actually quite good. Its a good British film and beats a lot of other comedies out there. Craig Ferguson was aboslutely brilliant in his role and wrote a fantastic script, he has the best lines. Jemma Redgrave wasn't the best I had seen. It was painful to watch her sometimes. As for Charlotte, she was awkward in parts but mostly, she fitted into her role well. Other great characters, Ralph Brown and the bands manager (from buffy) were also great fun to watch. This film is just so charming I dont understand why it has done so bad. Its a film for anyone, but uses explicit language a lot (mainly from the rockers). There are laugh out loud moments and the directing I thought was really thoughtful. The best scene of the whole film is the first one, with the mixture of Olivias singing in the church and her long lost Father rocking about alone in his mansion drunk off his face. Its not a perfect piece of cinema of course, it has flaws, like some of the acting (ok, just Jemma Redgrave) and Craig putting flashbacks in but its an original british film which should be appreciated by all, not just Charlotte fans."