Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sibling Rivalry Played Out On The Soccer Field

Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna play two brothers scraping by as laborers in rural Mexico , until one day a scout spies their friendly game of soccer and sign them on as star athletes for rival teams. They quickly learn that the high life of top players-fame, money, and beautiful women-has a dark side. And when their professional rivalry turns bitter and personal, the brothers see that they must reunite before they lose everything they once dreamed of in Rudo y Cursi.

They're inseparable, Rudo and Cursi, partly because they're brothers, partly because they're brilliant soccer players, partly because their hands are so firmly gripped around each other's throats. Rudo is sexier, flashier, slightly dimmer; naturally, he's a hotshot goal-scorer. Cursi -- older, married, scheming -- is, of course, the goalkeeper. Beto (Diego Luna) and Tato (Gael García Bernal) Verdusco are brothers who work at a banana plantation and also play soccer for the village team. Nicknamed “Tough” because of his personality and football style, Beto dreams of becoming a professional soccer player; Tato’s dream is to be a famous singer, and both share the dream of building a house for their mother, Elvira (Dolores Heredia). They have a change in luck when “Batuta,” a soccer talent scout, discovers them accidentally. Tato is the first to move to the big city where he becomes the star goal scorer for the prestigious Deportivo Amaranto (Amaranto Club). His baroque playing style earns him the nickname of “Corny”. Although Beto feels he has been betrayed and left behind, he soon travels to Mexico City to become the goalkeeper for Atlético Nopaleros (Nopaleros Team). At the peak of glory, they forget all animosity, although it does not last long. At the very real possibility of fulfilling all of their dreams, the siblings must face an innate rivalry as well as their own demons and limitations. Beto is a gambler and allows his addiction to drag him down; Tato is unable to recognize his true talents and squanders every opportunity by pursuing a false idea of celebrity and status. The dream seems to slip through their fingers. And it is at their worst moment that the brothers find forgiveness trying o help each other while casting headlong towards their individual destiny. When an agent (Guillermo Francella) comes to town and sees the locals play soccer, he's immediately drawn to the brothers. But he can only choose one player to take with him to Mexico City, and his choice is decided in a penalty kick. It's Tato. The two brothers continue fighting, but only Tato is going to Mexico City this time. Beto stays home in the village, gambling away whatever he has. Tato, who really aspires to be a singer, begins to find success as a soccer player. Before too long, he gets a nickname -- Cursi, which means corny -- and a contract to make a record and a video. He makes what is possibly the most idiotic video extant. He gets a fancy house and an SUV. And above all, he gets romance with a gorgeous TV personality and golddigger (Jessica Mas). He's enjoying the good life, and he sends for his brother to share some of it. Now Beto also begins to have a successful soccer career, and he too gets a nickname: Rudo. Rudo means tough, and Rudo is one tough goalie. Success means he can gamble to his heart's content, too. How wonderful that both boys have become so successful. How funny that mama's dream house will eventually be built by her son-in-law, a drug lord. Cursi has his hair streaked blonde and he sees himself as a superstar, but his soccer game begins to fall off. Nobody cares about his video, either. Rudo is doing too much coke and gambling too much to be any good at the game. His gambling debts will sink him, if his brother doesn't sink him on the soccer field first. 

Rudo y Cursi is very funny, although wildly politically incorrect. There's a running gag about mama, and how all the kids in the family have different fathers; Rudo and Cursi are both the butt of jokes for being such hicks from hicksville; everyone is mocked for his upward mobility, bad taste and moral elasticity. Rudo y Cursi is a rags-to-riches comedy written and directed by Carlos Cuaron, who also wrote "Y Tu, Mama Tambien". The film, which is a huge hit in Mexico, is lightweight and often very funny, but there's a cruel edge to the laughs that left this viewer vaguely uncomfortable at times, but it works. This very entertaining spanish movie gets a 3 on my "Go See" scale.

No comments: