- BOTTOM LINE
- Turn Up For Charlie
What is the Story about?
Once a popular DJ with a hit number, Charlie (Idris Elba) is long past that time and is surviving on the past glory. Opportunity comes knocking on Charlie’s door when his celebrity friends (husband and wife) want to hire him as a nanny for their precocious child. What happens when Charlie agrees to the proposal is the basic plot of the series?
Idris Elba is fantastic. He is the mainstay of the whole enterprise and without his cool and subtle act, Turn Up Charlie would have been boring from the word go. He towers over everyone else and easily carries the whole narrative on his shoulder.
The only problem one may feel is that Idris Elba plays the character Charlie in such a cool and calm manner that one might feel there is no acting at all. He is just walking in the park, but rest assured that is not the case. Turn Up Charlie has other issues plaguing it, but Idris Elba is the shining bright spot in it.
Direction By Matt Lipsey and Tristram Shapeeroo?
Matt Lipsey and Tristram Shapeeroo share the credits as director for the movie. They direct four episodes each, and we have to say there are a narrative and tonal inconsistency that affects the flow. It also doesn’t help that; the content itself is very routine.
The opening episode itself gives clarity on what is to come. It is highly predictable and bordering on blandness, but is passable nonetheless. As said above, Idris Elba holds it all together, for whatever it is worth, along with a few well-cast supporting ensembles.
The following episodes after the first one hit the right tone emotionally and get better. The different characters and circumstances, however, cliché they are, offer some emotional connect and also entertainment. The performances seem genuine, and there is a relatable quality despite all the predictability on display. The whole second act works.
However, the ending episodes kill all the fun generated in the middle portions. Just like the character of Charlie who is lost, the narrative loses all its fizz, and the whole thing which previously had a proper flow feels laborious and tiring. The various criss-cross relationships feel rushed as if done in a hurry to get to a conclusion. The ending is not satisfying and leaves one dissatisfied.
Overall, Turn Up Charlie hinges on Idril Elba’s charm to pull us through the messy and unengaging parts which are aplenty. Still, for those who seek a common, and regular family fare with some comedy and emotion, Turn Up Charlie has few moments which work.
Piper Perabo, JJ Field, and Frankie Hervey are the primary set of actors along with Idris Elba, who have well-defined roles and are part of the narrative all through. Each one has done well with what they have got. They are all clichéd, but Piper followed by Frankie manage to make the most. Piper starts slowly but gets critical and vital towards the end, and the emotions are neatly portrayed. In comparison, JJ Field loses momentum as the series progresses and goes entirely missing near the end.
Guz Khan, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Angela Griffin play the second set of characters, who appear with Idris Elba. They are personally attached to the role of Charlie and complete his world internally as friend, guardian and love. Jocelyn is a predictable part that is well done, and so is Guz Khan. Angela Griffin is somewhat unremarkable, which is quite the opposite of child artist Cameron King, who impresses within the small time he gets. The rest are alright.
Music and other departments?
The music is mostly recycled along with the DJ stuff. It is used sparingly and appropriately at the right moments. The cinematography by Rob Kitzmann is neat. The visuals are colourful with a realistic touch as is the trend for some time now. Gary Dollner and Pete Drinkwater’s editing could have been better. The flow is uneven at times. The writing is on predictable lines, and it gets progressively worse as we get to the final.
Some Funny And Emotional Moments
Did I enjoy it?
Yes in parts
Will you recommend it?
Yes but with huge reservations
Turn Up Charlie Series Review by Siddhartha Toleti