I'll be there Review

~*~* "I'll Be There" is the story of a young girl in Wales who discovers that a famous rock star is her father....this long kept family secret is finally revealed when the aforementioned rocker has ridden his motorcycle through an upstairs window in his house and subsequently lands in a mental hospital because everyone thinks he's suicidal.
Local residents conspire to free him and from there Paul Kerr (Craig Ferguson) sets out to get to know his long lost daughter Olivia (played by teen opera singer Charlotte Church in her first movie role.) Olivia, in turn, sees that her mother, despite the anger she feels towards Paul for not answering her letters (turns out he never recieved them..a secretary just automatically sent autographed photos as a reply) still carries a torch for him and sets about matching the two of them up again.

++That is the basic story outline. Now for the critique!++
This film is the directorial debut for Craig Ferguson...he has plenty of behind the camera credits under his belt as he has co-produced and written films such as "The Big Tease" and "Saving Grace", so naturally the next step is to direct.
I did find some sections of this movie that seemed to me to be out of step with this film's supposing to be a romatic comedy...the character of Olivia's mother came across either as an ice queen one minute or she was sitting with her daughter reminiscing about her tryst with Paul...and there was no middle ground. I just did not find this woman a likeable character...
Charlotte Church is a fantastic singer....a teen phenom....and she really does have a marvelous voice.... it's just that as an actress this girl has a long way to go. She seemed wooden and stiff...the only time there was any sense of a spark (that she was the character Olivia and not just Charlotte Church reciting a script) were the moments when she learned that her mom had slept with a rock star! In her scenes with Craig, (and I'm assuming these were the very first scenes she did with him) she seemed frozen....scared....looking up at "Craig Ferguson the star and director of this movie" rather than a girl talking to her father.
(Olivia has been taking singing lessons on the sly and when she reveals her talent to her father, he encourages her ...it is this common interest that eventually forges a bond between Paul and Olivia) As for Craig Ferguson himself, he is delightful as always...this movie is yet another great step for him...now, granted this film did get a real shellacking in the UK press and did get yanked from US theatrical release but this is no indication that this is a bad movie.
Craig really delivers the goods as an aging rock star living in a huge old mansion...(and Craig actually did play in bands as a youth, so this is something of an homage to those times, you could say).... It's really Ferguson's charm and charisma that carry this movie...and he is in great company with a wonderful supporting cast....
And there is a lot of really good music throughout this film...Craig even sings (and you actually know it's him and not overdubs) and plays piano and guitar....
So, in spite of a few bumps (like Charlotte's wooden acting and the happily-ever-after ending), this was, really, a very pleasant little movie.
All in all I really enjoyed "I'll Be There" and I do encourage you to seek out this movie...
On a five star scale I give "I'll Be There" a solid 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

By Gail Garen