Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'll Be There (2003)


Former Scottish rock star Paul Kerr (Craig Ferguson) is admitted to a psyche ward after a night of heavy drinking gets him to drive his motorcycle out of the second floor of his Welsh mansion. While in the ward he discovers he has a 16 year old daughter (Charlotte Church) from a weekend long fling with "the one" that got away, Rebecca (Jemma Redgrave). As the two struggle to find their identity they find common ground in their musical talents, and slowly grow to care for one another.

So I'll admit, I'm an un-apologizing huge Craig Ferguson fan, I watch his late night show every night, and am slowly working my way through his films (some of which are really really bad). As you can imagine though, I had to check out his directorial debut despite constant negative press (from the few who watched it). As a movie I'll Be There suffers from the age old conundrum of just not being anything worth writing about. It's got some great comedic moments, fun characters, and is a fun look at what happens to rockers well past their prime. Yet it maintains a sort of childish, Disney like, flair, in that every character is likable, the bad guy is a bit of a douche, and everything works out over the top perfectly.

As an actor Craig Ferguson doesn't possess an incredible array of emotion, but he knows how to play to his strengths, and as such Paul Kerr is really more Craig Ferguson than anything. This is especially evident as Kerr is a recovering alcoholic in the film, while Ferguson is well known for having been an alcoholic up until the early 90s, before his big break on The Drew Carey Show. First time actress, and remarkable singing talent, Charlotte Church shows a lot of new-comer syndrome, and fails to stand out despite her emotionally sensitive role. Jemma Redgrave (cousin to the late Natasha Richardson) is as beautiful as you'd expect her to be, while Joss Ackland is the standout as Rebecca's well past his prime heavy rocker. Of course if you're an insane movie buff this film also represents the first speaking role for Dominic Cooper... which lasts all of about 30seconds and two lines.

In the end though, despite my overbearing love for Ferguson, I just can't say this was a good enough movie to recommend. It's not really a bad movie, and if you're looking for something to absorb a couple of hours you could do a lot worse. I can tell this is a very personal film for Ferguson, but it may have been handled better in more experienced hands. So if you're looking for a film you've probably never heard of, you may want to check this out, but it's not the must see I always hope Ferguson's films will be (though they tend to be must see for the wrong reasons).

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