Directed By: Craig Ferguson
Written By: Craig Ferguson, Phil McGrade
Produced By: James G. Robinson
Cast: Craig Ferguson, Charlotte Church, Ralph Brown, Ian McNeice, Imelda Staunton, Dominic Cooper
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 105 minutes
Review Date: November 24, 2010
The only thing I’ll Be There had going for it was Charlotte Church’s voice; otherwise, the film falls flat. Craig Ferguson plays Paul Kerr, a washed-up rock musician who still parties like a rock star despite not really being a star anymore. He comes to find out that, after sharing a night with Rebecca (Jemma Redgrave) sixteen years ago, he in fact has a daughter, Olivia (Church).
It’s a different rom-com, focusing on the relationship that builds between Olivia and Paul, while addressing the strain and perhaps jealousy Rebecca feels seeing her daughter slip away. The film is highly predictable, especially around Olivia’s musical gift and the fact her mom doesn’t recognize it, while her father is moved to tears by it.
Church proves her acting chops not only hit the wrong notes, they’re on the wrong scale completely. She obviously steals the scene when she starts singing, but other than that, she leaves you begging for an intermission. Olivia has no depth to her personality, leaving the viewer begging for more information about her life and details under the surface.
Paul Kerr is an awkward musician, sometimes playing the bad boy, then the mature adult, then the protecting father. Imagine if Tommy Lee all of a sudden decided to take a center stage role in his children’s lives. It seems fake, false, and forced.
The mother role of Rebecca seems to not have a backbone, despite being an independent entrepreneur and single mother. The minute Kerr enters their lives, it sends the mother into a tailspin. After 16 years of not having any contact with Kerr, it’s hard to believe she would crumble at the first sight of seeing him.
The ending is a no-brainer for the viewer and wraps up with the perfectly tied bow. But as I learned at the age of seven, a gift can still strike the wrong chord, even with a pristine wrapping job. Just skip around in the film to hear Church’s voice, because that’s the only thing that should be there.
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.