The Beautiful Game: Rudo y Cursi

(Mexico, 2008, 103 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Spanish with English subtitles
CAST Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna


The Cuaron brothers’ follow up to international hit Y Tu Mama Tambien reunites stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna for a piquant pop satire on Mexico’s obsession with soccer and celebrity. It’s a long way from Gravity, to be sure, an earthy, rough and ready comedy about two brothers plucked from the obscurity of their life on a banana plantation by virtue of their exhilarating soccer skills.

Bernal’s Tato – nicknamed Cursi (“Corny”) - is is a quickfire striker. Beto - known as Rudo ("Rough") - is a great keeper. But the talent scout who discovers them when his car breaks down only has room for one player. A penalty kick will decide their fate…

What follows is a broad (but naturalistic) satire about a hick becoming an overnight celebrity, his love-hate relationship with his brother, and the effect of all this money and good fortune on his love-life, his football, and his family.

The comedy has a pretty sour. cynical bite: corrupt managers select players for financial gain; a TV hottie switches her affections for maximum celebrity coverage; fans are fickle and abusive; the player’s agent creams off profits and bribes officials. And it’s not just footie: the boys’ sister is being courted by the local drug baron. Their mum couldn’t be more proud.

"Mixes soap-opera sentimentality with playful, jumpy aggression and dresses a bittersweet, rags-to-riches fable in the bright clothes of pop satire." AO Scott, New York Times

"Rudo y Cursi is a grave and calculated affront to the men of Mexico, and that’s the source of its roistering charm." Ty Burr, Boston Globe