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Starter for 10 (2006)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 9 March 2007 (USA)
Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.

Director:

Tom Vaughan

Writers:

David Nicholls (novel), David Nicholls (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Friend Joseph Friend ... Young Brian
James Gaddas ... Martin Jackson
Catherine Tate ... Julie Jackson
Mark Gatiss ... Bamber Gascoigne
Robert Cawsey Robert Cawsey ... University Challenge Competitor
Rasmus Hardiker ... University Challenge Competitor
Guy Henry ... Dr. Morrison
James McAvoy ... Brian Jackson
James Corden ... Tone
Dominic Cooper ... Spencer
Simon Woods ... Josh
Sule Rimi ... Marcus
Joe Van Moyland Joe Van Moyland ... Hippy at the Party
Rebecca Hall ... Rebecca Epstein
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Patrick Watts
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Storyline

In 1985, against the backdrop of Thatcherism, Brian Jackson enrolls in the University of Bristol, a scholarship boy from seaside Essex with a love of knowledge for its own sake and a childhood spent watching "University Challenge," a college quiz show. At Bristol he tries out for the Challenge team and falls under the spell of Alice, a lovely blond with an extensive sexual past. He's smitten, and he carelessly manages to hurt the feelings of Rebecca Epstein, a friend whose politics and wit he admires. The Challenge finale is coming up; maybe Brian can redeem himself and still avoid being a prat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Starter for 10 See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,141, 25 February 2007

Gross USA:

$216,839

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,730,047
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stars three actors who would go on to play Marvel characters. James McAvoy starred in X-Men: First Class (2011) as the young Charles Xavior, Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Agent Carter (2015), and Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange (2016). Also Rebecca Hall co-stars in Iron Man 3 (2013). See more »

Goofs

The producers of this film may have dug a pit for themselves by choosing to set it in 1985. The 1985 competition (which was not broadcast for a year) was a brief return for the series after a short hiatus. Granada had decided to pep it up by modifying the format. In round 1 teams played each other over two programs, the first of which comprised of a "baton relay". Competitors were pitched one-against-one and had to answer two questions correctly before passing the baton on to the team-mate to the left. None of this was reflected in the film. In addition, the set was completely redesigned in red and black, unlike the more recognizable scheme employed in the film. See more »

Quotes

Brian Jackson: I admit it. I'd made some mistakes. Okay, some big mistakes. Loads of them. But you can't hide in your room forever feeling sorry for yourself. It's not practical. At some point, you've got to get back out there, face up to things, and confront your demons. Ever since I can remember, I'd wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever, same way some people are born beautiful. I'm not one of those people. I'm going to have to work at it, put in the effort, and if I mess it up, I'll learn from ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits the theme music from the BBC program University Challenge (1962), which the title of the film refers to, is played. See more »

Connections

Featured in HBO First Look: Starter for 10 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Situation
Performed by Yazoo (as Yaz)
Written by Alison Moyet, Vince Clarke
Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC o/b/o Sony/ATV Music Publishing UK Ltd. / Musical Moments UK Ltd. / Mega Music Ltd.
Courtesy of Sire Records
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Entertaining Piffle
3 November 2006 | by dhlough-1See all my reviews

Though he's been acting since 1995, young James McAvoy is poised to become the next great European import based on his kindly faun Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia and his wide-eyed work in The Last King of Scotland alongside Forest Whittaker's fierce Idi Amin. Yet sometimes a performer's measure isn't in their solid ensemble acting, but how they carry a minor work with the sheer force of talent or personality.

McAvoy's turn in Starter for Ten as frosh geek Brian Jackson, at University in 1985, is wondrously physical and inspired. He's graced with an infinitely pliable, benevolent face that's both plain and handsome. As a smart, shy working class boy, still reeling from the loss of his father years ago, McAvoy wields Jackson's intelligence as both sword and shield – he draws you to him with his wit, and keeps you at arm's length with the same. For all his smarts, he's at a loss when drawn to both the enigmatic Julie (the piercingly funny Catherine Tate) – a partner on the school's quiz team – and the politically active Rebecca (the gangly beauty Rebecca Hall who hits low vocal notes reminiscent of Emma Thompson).

Directed by Tom Vaughan from an agile screenplay by David Nicholls, Starter for Ten is the best movie John Hughes would have made if he was English and set his comedies in college instead of high school. Though predictable and erratically paced, there's a real suggestion of university life in it. And McAvoy's creation wrings true emotion. He has a showcase scene in a restaurant where he goes from laughter to tears within the same sentence – you're with him all the way. The movie is an entertaining piffle, but it serves notice that you just might be watching the birth of a star.


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