Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rudo y Cursi: Grade F

Rudo y Cursi (2008)
Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna; Writer-Director Carlos Cuarón. (Spanish, subtitled)

I like foreign films, other languages, other ethnicities; I like seeing how people live in other cultures, what they assume about life, what the world looks like to them. But this film might be just too ethnic, even for me, because I could not get a thing out of it. Granted, I am not a huge soccer fan and this movie focuses on two brothers from a poor village in southern Mexico who aspire to become professional soccer stars. They achieve their goal when an unconvincing talent scout implausibly “discovers” them in their village and whisks them off to the big leagues, though even to my untrained eye, they aren’t very good players. So they make a lot of money, get a fancy apartment, a big white SUV, are on TV, and have lots of women and champagne. Woo-woo. They visit their village as heroes but also as aliens, no longer able to relate to village life or even to their families. Finally there is the inevitable “big match” where everything is at stake, and it all comes down to a penalty kick with one brother kicking and the other the goalie. What drama!

This is all predictable, without an ounce of real tension. The acting is hammy, dialog uninteresting, story unbelievable. The relationship between the brothers is not well developed. Directing and cinematography are unremarkable. It is nice to see village life in southern Mexico, but that is only a small part of the film. I’m sure I am being culturally insensitive but for me, this wasn’t even adequate soap opera.

1 comment:

  1. After looking through some of your other reviews, I feel it is necessary to call you out on your poor "review" of Rudo Y Cursi. Seeing as how you gave a remake as poorly made as "The Invasion" a B, a film that reeks of hipsters and horrible American slang words in "Juno" an A, and a film that perhaps is one of the most horribly edited and most horrible utilizations of the Beatles' songs (Across the Universe) an A, I'm afraid that I can't agree with your evaluation of Rudo Y Cursi.

    Rudo Y Cursi, is actually a powerful film (though still not fully matured film, seeing as how this is Carlos Cuaron's first feature) that aims at showing you how life really is for Southern Folk living in Mexico. Most will never make it out, and rather than giving audiences a story that tickles their fancy and makes their heart melt, we see how very much "corny and tough" each brother is and how that plays into their rises and even quicker downfalls. The movie is meant to be a comedy. I'm not sure if you were able to infer that. Their plight into stardom is meant to be seen as predictable, yet it is still bittersweet because they are unable to keep this state of prosperity. If you were to do your research before you watched this film, you would see that rarely do "poor" farmers and indios make it into the soccer league. Yet they still failed. Even the scene of one being a "one hit wonder" is incredibly hilarious. It was a running part of the joke that neither had immense skill. They wanted the fame more than the opportunity to simply be successful and supply for their families. Their greed and stupidity won out.

    And to say that there was no chemistry between real life childhood friends Bernal and Luna also baffles me. Their chemistry was stimulating in Y Tu Mama Tambien and they did an even better job here because they had to explore the comedic side of their friendship.

    This movie isn't aiming to be an oscar award winner. It was released with all intents and purposes of being an independent film. I thought that it set reasonable expectations that were met. It wasn't attempting to make a hit film. It was an exploration into a medium and a genre.

    I do agree with some of your reviews, but I just have to disagree with you on this. Perhaps attempting to review movies in a "nutshell" you are limiting their depth and are looking for things to immediately identify them as good or bad. I do respect you however, for admitting to your cultural insensitivity. It gives me an idea of the particular lens you were viewing this film with. I shouldn't be surprised, this same lens pervades many of your foreign film reviews.