Begin Again15 ¦ DVD, Blu-ray
Sometimes, just sometimes, you can sit through a film and be totally blown away by its soundtrack. Begin Again is not that film.
It stars Keira Knightley as a songwriter who ends up singing her own material. And yes, it really is as bad as it sounds.
New York City can be such an exciting place, especially if you're in love. You can times the magic by eleven when the cute couple are musicians Gretta (Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine); it doesn't hurt either that Dave is about to hit the big time, as one of his songs was a huge hit featured in a film. Now the pair find themselves living in a swanky loft apartment.
But living in New York City can be a real downer if you split up with said partner, which is what happens with Gretta and Dave. Dave finds someone else and moves on, leaving Gretta alone and behind in NYC.
Fellow Brit and friend Steve (James Corden) drags her along to an open mic night where he's playing, in an attempt to cheer her up. After his set, he decides to invite Gretta up to play a song of her own, which she begrudgingly agrees to.
In the audience is A & R guy Dan (Mark Ruffalo), who, despite having a really shitty day, really likes what he hears. So much so that he wants to record the song. Understandably she's wary of his offer, but decides to take the plunge and take him up on it.
Instead of one track however, they decide to record an entire album, using the city as their sound stage. Soon it's not only music in the air, but a delicate whiff of love too. Oh NYC, you're such a cupid.
The fact that the poster for this film didn't carry the tag ‘Keira Knightley Sings!’ was probably a wise move. That's not to say she has a bad voice; it’s just heard far too often. And the songs are so wet they should be wearing scuba gear.
The fact that's she's miming throughout is possibly that little bit more annoying. Irish director John Carney pins a lot on the film with the premise of an album being recorded outdoors, but he loses the bottle and has all the songs pre-recorded.
And then there's Adam Levine; when he sings he sounds eerily like the guy from Maroon Five. Of all the voices to emulate. Apparently there's a reason for that: he is the lead singer of Maroon Five. As a singer he makes a competent actor.
The script is also terribly woolly and relies too heavily on NYC being like an actual character in the film (and if you're the other person who actually watched and enjoyed They Came Together that reference won't be lost on you). Actually, the city gives the best performance in the film.
If you want to catch a rom-com that is neither romantic or amusing then Begin Again is just the film for you.