Rudo y Cursi (2008)
Two brothers from a somewhat impoverished Mexican village work at a local banana plantation and dream of stardom. Beto, the older, wants to be a soccer start. Tato, the younger, has aspirations of a career in music. Together, they play pick-up games of soccer, and try to keep their large family from going without.
When a shady agent sees them play, he recognizes their talent, and eventually finds places for both brothers on rival Mexican soccer teams. The transition from village to big-city stardom is shocking, and each brother has different ways of dealing with the stresses of their new-found lives. As their fortunes rise and fall, their commitments to their family, and each other, are strained, and both come to realize that fame is not as wonderful as it seems.
This was a somewhat predictable, yet ultimately entertaining, movie that was completely saved by the great performances of its two main actors. The duo of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal is one of my favorites in modern cinema - they are both fine actors in their own right, but together they seem to bring out the best in each other. I'm sure their offscreen friendship only adds to the chemistry, and I'm certain it added in this case, because while they really don't look anything alike, they were completely believable as brothers who love each other and yet drive each other crazy.
The plot was nothing exceptional. I think it was originally billed as a comedy, and while there are some humorous moments, it's not a laugh-out-loud funny movie. Many scenes are quite dark, and the overall tone didn't seem light. It was, however, an entertaining enough way to spend a couple of hours - if you are interested in getting started in foreign films, this might be a good movie to pick up. It does contain rough language, and sexual situations, so I wouldn't plan to watch it with kids around, even though it is about sports. If you haven't discovered the Luna/Bernal duo, I would definitely recommend this one - it's not as heavy as some of their other work, but showcases their acting ability quite well. It probably won't wind up as one of my favorites of the year, but I certainly didn't mind losing myself in this story.
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