Starter for Ten

Director: Tom Vaughan

Fun trifle produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman in association with the BBC and HBO brings viewers to 1985 England where a young working-class boy packs off to attend Bristol University with the hopes of becoming a champion on TV’s University Challenge. Adapting directly from his own novel, David Nicholls’ intelligent screenplay provides a wonderful alternative to American coming-of-age in college films about fraternities and sex by taking a more realistic, yet hilarious look at insecure Brian Jackson (a terrific James McAvoy) who finds himself torn between blonde bombshell Alice (Alice Eve) and brainy beauty Rebecca (Rebecca Epstein). Featuring a terrific soundtrack of 80’s new wave classics and painful wardrobe and hair choices, Starter for Ten is forgettable but likable entertainment in the tradition of Hanks’ other Playtone productions My Big Fat Greek Wedding and That Thing You Do. Look for a nice supporting turn by up and coming star Dominic Cooper (who also made a splash in The History Boys) in his role as Brian’s rebellious friend. Tom Vaughan’s film netted the director and writer an Advance Screening award from the Austin Film Festival and was also nominated for the Best British Film of 2007 from the Empire Awards, UK.