Film Review: Rudo & Cursi

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 26 Jun 2009

Sports films have always been a troubled genre because so rarely can actors actually play sports. Bar Vinnie Jones, though his acting has never even gotten close to some of his breathtaking, or more over, leg-breaking, tackles for the Crazy Gang, most actors don’t hold a split talent on the sports field, which makes recreating realistic action a challenging task.

Starring Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as two brothers with a passion for the beautiful game, Rudo And Cursi attempt to break the mould. After being picked up by a top football agent to become stars in the Mexican league, Tato (Bernal) and Beto (Luna) leave behind their small rural township for life in the fast lane. With Tato soon becoming a goal scoring sensation and Beto closing in on the record for consecutive clean sheets, as their sporting careers kick-off, their personal lives start to de-rail. While Tato pursues an ill-advised musical side project, Beto becomes addicted to gambling, before the stakes are raised so high in the final game of the season, only one brother can come out on top.

Though Rudo And Cursi struggles to blend the football and spin-off plot paths, it is a very accomplished debut from long time shorts director Carlos Cuarón. Good natured and honest, Rudo And Cursi soon absorbs the audience into the lives of two aspiring sportsmen and their failure to deal with the associated fame and fortune.

Critical to the success of the film, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna share such great chemistry together, and for anyone who hasn’t seen Y Tu Mamá También, it won’t be a surprise to hear they have worked together before. Both give such great performances as Luna at last loses his baby looks with a very matured delivery in his lines.

Further to the leading actors’ credits, they are convincing on the football pitch. The sports action scenes are at times kept to a minimum until the final showdown, but when it takes centre stage in front of a heaving Mexican crowd, you can really picture Tato and Beto in the thick of the action, and not just as two actors pretending to play football.

Undone slightly by a predictable plot, ridden with clichés and a skipping narrative, Rudo And Cursi is a charming buddy movie that just about manages to get away with its flaws thanks to a spritely attitude and show stopping finish. And for once, some decent sport action.

★★★★★

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