Film review: Begin Again

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SOME film-makers spend entire careers striving in vain for one moment of cinematic perfection. Others, like Irish director John Carney, strike gold early and face the daunting prospect of living up to giddy expectation.

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Begin Again. Pictured: James Corden and Keira Knightley. Pic: PA

Begin Again. Pictured: James Corden and Keira Knightley. Pic: PA

In 2007, Carney sent audiences and critics into a collective swoon with his micro-budget fourth feature, Once.

Begin Again - which was originally titled Can A Song Save Your Life? but should perhaps have been re-christened Once Again - sees Carney orchestrate another musical collaboration between emotionally damaged misfits.

Shot against the backdrop of New York’s iconic landmarks, this hugely entertaining romantic comedy is blessed with strong performances and an infectious soundtrack.

Greta (Keira Knightley) comes to Manhattan with her boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine), who has just landed a major recording contract.

Touring and promotion put a strain on the relationship and Dave succumbs to his new found celebrity by cheating on Greta.

She flees their swanky apartment in tears and crashes with old friend Steve (James Corden), who busks for his supper.

Begin Again dances to the same beat as Once, albeit with a starrier cast including Maroon 5 frontman Levine, who makes a solid acting debut.

Knightley and Ruffalo are an attractive pairing, the latter giving parenting a bad name when he takes his daughter to a bar and asks her to pick up his beer tab with her pocket money.

Corden provides additional comic relief.

Musical sequences are full of energy including a blistering guitar solo from Steinfeld on a rooftop rendition of the film’s best song, Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home.

We don’t.