Set in 1985, "Starter For 10", based on the novel by David Nicholls, is the story of Brian Jackson who leaves his working class roots to embark upon his first year at Bristol University.
Brian is obsessed with acquiring knowledge and the television programme University Challenge. When the opportunity arises for Brian to join the University's quiz team and "take the Challenge", he meets the beautiful Alice and falls in "like" with her.
Alongside this, Brian befriends Rebecca, a student who's a political/conscience activist.
Throughout the film, Brian has to learn some important life lessons - the importance of your friends and family and ask himself some questions that even Bamber Gascoigne couldn't ask like whether he should fall for the gorgeous but shallow Alice or the equally beautiful and more aware Rebecca.
I didn't know what to expect from this film as it was touted as either a rom-com or a coming of age comedy. Well, I would honestly have to say both.
James McEvoy makes a charming lead in the form of Brian. The character is clever, but clueless about women and McEvoy pulls this off without making Brian look stupid.
His two leading ladies, Alice portrayed by Alice Eve and Rebecca portrayed by Rebecca Hall, perform the function that they are written for - to provide a physical sense of conflict to match the conflict within Brian's character. The external battle is Brian's fascination for the shallow Alice and the character of Rebecca, who Brian is more in tune with. Brian's internal conflict is whether he should fully embrace his university life or retain the links to the roots from where he has come from.
There is a great set of British character actors in the supporting cast, Dominic Cooper and James Corden (who starred in the film version of The History Boys around this time), Charles Dance, Lindsey Duncan, Catherine Tate and Mark Gatiss giving a very good impersonation of legendary University Challenge host, Bamber Gascoigne.
Last and by no means least of the supporting cast is Benedict Cumberbatch giving a funny and deliberately annoying performance as the captain of the quiz team, Patrick. The character is riddled with pomposity, a simmering jealousy and a lack of tact and diplomacy which causes him to come to blows twice in the film to great comic effect.
"Starter For 10" isn't a comedy that going to break new ground, the main plot is too predictable for that. It also isn't the type of comedy which has big belly laughs.
However, if you like a gentle comedy with some decent acting in it, please try it on your rental list.