Starter For 10 (2006) Review


Starter For 10 (2006)

Directed by Tom Vaughan

Produced by Tom Hanks, Pippa Harris & Sam Mendes

Written by David Nicholls

James McAvoy
Alice Eve
Benedict Cumberbatch
Rebecca Hall
Dominic Cooper
Catherine Tate
James Corden

Running time: 92 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Starter for 10 is a 2006 British comedy-drama film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The film stars James McAvoy as a university student who wins a place on a University Challenge quiz team.


My Opinion:

I decided to watch this the other day after reading a review from the lovely Emma on MovieRob’s blog (HERE). I’d known about it but hadn’t known that it was set in my beloved 1980s until I read her review so that was all I needed to convince me to watch it.


Starter For Ten is a book by David Nicholls. I’ve not read it (but Emma has & says it’s of course better than the movie). I did read One Day by David Nicholls and, although it’s very flawed, I still liked the book & the movie (despite the fact that Anne Hathaway was in it – staring at Jim Sturgess & his big brown eyes helped a little). Plus, as I said, Starter For 10 is set in the EIGHTIES! Woohoo! Well, unfortunately, the movie is a bit bland. And as for the 1980s, this is one of those movies where it doesn’t actually look or feel all that much like that decade even though they throw in as much music as possible from that era. Don’t get me wrong – I love 80’s music. At one point I looked at the hubby & said “are they actually playing my playlist?” as it’s filled with things like New Order, The Smiths, Tears For Fears and LOADS of songs from The Cure. It’s nice hearing a bunch of my favorite songs but, at the same time, it also feels very lazy on the part of the filmmakers. It’s like “See? Our movie is set in the eighties because we’re playing The Cure! Ignore Alice Eve with her big boobs & her very un-eighties clothes & blonde highlights – just listen to MotΓΆrhead!”


I will say this movie is only really worth a watch if you’re a fan of any of its stars or if you enjoy similar British films. There are some very big names in Starter For 10 so it was fun seeing them just before most of them made it really big in blockbusters like the X-Men, Star Trek & Iron Man series of films. The storyline was extremely predictable to the point of almost being annoying (I’m talking especially about the romance!) but, when the group finally appear on the game show they’ve been preparing for, the film does get a little more fun. The movie is very “British” and I couldn’t help but compare it to Nick Hornby’s books & movies. I have to say I far prefer Hornby & would recommend his stuff over this (especially the book High Fidelity). Overall, Starter For 10 just didn’t really work for me. It’s not a bad movie but the predictable plot and one-dimensional characters just left me feeling “Meh. So what?”. Watch it if you like the actors but first check out some Nick Hornby. And The Cure’s greatest hits!

My Rating: 5.5/10


36 thoughts on “Starter For 10 (2006) Review

  1. Hmm. I was so intrigued at first but I don’t have time for mediocre. Haha! I do love James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch and I really love the 80 (who doesn’t)… but I think I’ll have to wait until I have nothing else to watch. Thanks for the review!

    • You’re welcome! Sorry if I talked you out of this. I was maybe a little harsh but “mediocre” does describe this. It’s kind of a fun “Sunday afternoon” movie to stick on while you’re ironing or doing some other mundane task. Lol. I’m still not selling it, am I?? πŸ˜‰ It’s not bad – it’s just not memorable. πŸ™‚

  2. Very fair and true! Bland is a good word lol πŸ™‚ but a good cast and likable story make it enough for a one off watch I think.

    “the book is so much better!!!” hahahaha.

    Thanks for calling me lovely πŸ™‚

    • You’re welcome – you ARE lovely. πŸ™‚ I felt bad not giving this a great review but I know you yourself far prefer the book anyway. I can totally see how the book would be much more enjoyable here. The story is fun enough! I may read the book someday as well. Sounds like the internal dialogue is funny. πŸ™‚

      • Oh no not at all! It’s not a movie I love, I don’t even have it on DVD. At least you know now! πŸ™‚

        YOU are lovely!!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • I know! And you’re just a young kid yourself. Imagine how I feel seeing him in this! Lol. It’s a fun enough movie – just one that won’t exactly change your life or anything. πŸ™‚

    • Exactly! This felt more early 90’s at times. Probably too many people involved in it who didn’t actually experience the 80’s. πŸ˜‰ Not a horrible movie but somewhat fun to watch if you’re bored.

  3. HA! McAvoy and Cumberbatch? YES I WILL HAVE TO SEE THIS! Plus I like Dominic Cooper, so this could be a decent watch. Sorry to see you didn’t enjoy it more!

    • Oh, you should definitely watch this if you want to see them – it’s worth it to see them before they were mega famous. πŸ™‚ I was probably a little harsh – it’s not like I hated it or anything – it’s just a bit bland.

  4. Hmm. I’m bummed to hear that this is kind of a letdown…but due to Mr. Cumberbatch’s presence, there’s an excellent chance that I will be giving this a shot one day nonetheless. Hahaha. Nice review, lady! Trying to get all caught up on your blog this weekend! πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: We Are The Best!, Blue Ruin & A Long Way Down Movie Reviews | Cinema Parrot Disco

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