The cast and crew of Rudo y Cursi reads like a who’s who list of Mexican cinema, which only makes it more disappointing that this film is so utterly futile.
It was the glorious triumvirate of production team Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and director Carlos Cuarón (Y tu mama tambien) that led me to this film full of high hopes, only to have them crushed in an avalanche of cliches and predictable set pieces.
Gael Garcia Bernal is back alongside Diego Luna for the first time since Y tu mama tambien playing two brothers working in a banana plantation but dreaming of greater things. Tato (Garcia Bernal) dreams of being a professional musician, whilst Beto (Luna) dreams of hitting the jackpot with an ill fated gambling system.
As it turns out, they both happen to be very good at football, so fame and fortune is just a kick/save away when they are picked up by talent scout Batuta, who acts as a narrator for the brothers’ rise and fall in the world of Mexican soccer.
However the film is not a sports movie; football is used merely as a backdrop for the continuation of the rivalry between the brothers as they compete for the love and attention of their mother. It’s the type of film that would be described as a “gentle comedy”, with gentle – seemingly industry – code for “without jokes.”
The film has been credited with highlighting the threads in the fabric of Mexican life, but is it an achievement to highlight that family, football and dodgy music are key parts of Mexican society? Even the token references to corruption and drug lords seemed so tired that I half expected a sequence on how spicy they like their food.
Using a narrator adds a better element to the film and there were some nice scenes between the brothers, but the interesting story of the increasing “get rich” culture in Mexico could have been presented so much better, if they hadn’t chose to present it in a comedy, which is hardly the forte of anyone involved.
When Beto is harangued by cardboard cut out gangsters over gambling debts and Tato is betrayed by his gold digger girlfriend I couldn’t help feeling numb to their plight. Not even the sight of the gorgeous, but woeful actress, Jessica Mas undressing could raise the pulse of a film that had long since died.
It is the first film from the new production company of these giants of Mexican cinema and things can only get better but the film only served to prove that they have a long way to go before they become the Latino SKG.