Washed up eighties pop star, Paul Kerr (Craig Ferguson) is your typical rock star archetype. In his heyday he drank far too much, womanised way too much and made lots of money singing sugary rock pop and wearing too much make-up. Back before he was quite so famous and rich he met a young girl and they had a single romantic night together, oblivious to the fact that the result was Olivia (Charlotte Church) he went on with his music career.
Fast-forward 16 years later and the rock star lifestyle has caught up with Kerr as he rides his motorcycle out of a second story window, ending up in a mental hospital with suspected suicidal tendancies. Cue the frequently absent grandfather Evil Edmonds (Joss Ackland) who convinces Oliviaís mother (Jemma Redgrave) to tell her daughter who her real father was and a pretty standard feel good movie ensues.
Let me start (well, two paragraphs in) by saying that when I first received this DVD for review I look upon with the greatest of scorn. I was a fan of the Drew Carey show but Fergusons character was annoying, and Charlotte Church doing a Hilary Duff? Pfft I say, PFFFFTTTT!
So there it sat, on the coffee table for weeks, taunting me with its cheap looking slip case and formulaic back cover plot synopsis. I even scraped the bottom of the barrel by reviewing stinkers like Den of Lions and Out of Reach before picking up Iíll Be There.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I eventually had no other choices and was forced to view it and Iíll Be There actually ended up being a very watchable and funny Ďfeel goodí movie. I say Ďfeel goodí as a generic term for a movie with a few good laughs and a happy ending. Even Craig Ferguson admits to it being ďunashamedly feel goodĒ in the commentary, not that thereís anything wrong with that, they canít all be Doctor Zhivago.Iím rich and Iím scottish, it doesnít get any better than that
Itís pretty obvious from the start that this film has received a semi-budget treatment. The packaging has had some love from the marketing department (maybe a trainee) but for some reason it just seems a little Ďcheapí which is probably why I left it on the coffee table for so long.
This is of course is beside the point, the packaging is only a minor part of why we buy DVDs and fortunately the rest of the presentation is above average in most respects.
The video transfer is in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for widescreen displays. Some minor grain and edge enhancement is the only criticism that I could level at the video portion of this disc, most of the movie gives us a clear and crisp picture with no flaws to distract from the Welsh scenery and Charlottes Pink Vesper (not a euphemism).
The audio component of the disc is equally pleasing. With the only choice of audio being Dolby Digital 5.1 accompanied by English subtitles this isnít the most compressive set of audio choices but it does the job.
The humour and story are primarily dialog driven so luckily the centre channel remains clear and audible throughout the movie, which is a good thing since sometimes the Welsh and Scottish accents can be a bit hard to pick up. Surround and sub woofer channels are equally well used when appropriate, no complaints in the audio department.
There are a number of extras on this disc; most prominent and worthy is the full length commentary by Director/Writer/Star Craig Ferguson with co-writer Philip McGrade. While Iím sure that some listeners will find these two annoying (and they are at times) the commentary is full of interesting information about the movie making process from the point of view of two people new to the whole scene; worth a listen.
Other extras include static Cast and Crew biographies showing the major players previous movies, nothing a trip to IMDB wont tell you. We also get a standard Theatrical Trailer and a selection of Deleted Scenes and Outtakes mostly extended or different shots of scenes that made the movie without commentary options.
Iím glad I eventually ran out of other movies to review and had to put Iíll Be There into the DVD player. While it is not exactly intellectually challenging I hate to repeat myself and call it a feel good movie thatís worth feeling good about. Well worth at least a rental.