Published May 21, 2009Probably more notable for the reunion of Y Tu Mama Tambien co-stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, under the direction of Tambien scribe Carlos Cuaron, than as a film itself, Rudo y Cursi is a pretty shallow comedy mired in rags-to-riches clichés and an overabundance of misogynist and homophobic commentary. There are minor amusements to be had, and the film wisely never tries to be more than it is, but it's mostly forgettable fare, aside from what appears to be a circle jerk with Garcia Bernal acting as the cookie.
In a plot device not dissimilar to A League of Their Own, a pair of half brothers, Rudo (Luna) and Cursi (Garcia Bernal), are discovered by a talent scout (Guillermo Francella) while playing a game of soccer on a dirt pitch, only to be whisked off to the big city, wherein they find success and learn valuable life lessons. The apparent dramatic heft comes when Cursi pulls something backhanded during the audition process to best his more talented goalkeeping brother.
Of course, this all comes back in the third act but before then Rudo finds his way into the soccer world as well, only to struggle with gambling and cocaine addictions, while Cursi dives into a doomed relationship with a model, when not recording a cover version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me," donning cowboy threads. This latter development is perhaps the most amusing of the film.
Aside from the inevitable "big game," little about Cuaron's feature directorial debut involves soccer. The film is more about the love-hate relationship of siblings and their inevitable realization of life's true priorities, which is handled with same gravitas and relevance as the occasional gay joke or voiceover about how to keep women in line.
There is nothing new here and to be frank, nothing particularly intriguing either. However, fans of the Tambien duo may be pleased to see what is essentially the same shtick, but in a less nuanced environment. (Mongrel Media)