The Weinstein Company can be very eager to change to change a film's title after its festival premiere — sometimes with more necessity than others. “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” however, is such a tooth-rottingly twee title that they were probably right to ditch it, even if “Begin Again” isn't the most inspired replacement. Anyway, that's what John Carney's musical dramedy will henceforth be known as, with the first official trailer for the summer release landing today.
Carney, of course, made a splash seven years ago with the shoestring-budgeted Irish busker romance “Once,” which recently made our list of Fox Searchlight's finest releases. For his follow-up, he's sticking with the theme of musicians' professional and personal troubles, though on a grander, glossier scale, starring Keira Knightley as an independent singer-songwriter in Manhattan who catches the eye (and ear) of Mark Ruffalo's down-and-out A&R man. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine makes his acting debut as her stardom-seeking boyfriend; Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld star as Ruffalo's ex-wife and daughter.
I haven't seen the film yet myself, though it met with a sharply divided response at Toronto. HitFix's Drew McWeeny was among those critics utterly captivated by it; others thought it excessively precious. By opening it on July 4, the Weinsteins are clearly hoping it will catch on as a sweet alternative to the season's burly blockbusters. Whether it does or not, we'll surely be talking about it in the Oscar race for Best Original Song, with Gregg Alexander (former front-and-only-man of the New Radicals) having written the film's narratively integral original tunes.
Check out the trailer below (with a newly released poster to boot) and tell us what you think.