Goal II: Living the Dream Movie Review
No sooner is he Britain's brand new sensation than Santi is traded away to the Valhalla of European soccer, Real Madrid. He's happy to go, even if it means putting stress on his relationship with his British fiancée Roz (Anna Friel). Whisked off to Spain, he finds himself sharing a locker room with Beckham, Ronaldinho, Zidane (all appearing as themselves), and Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola), an old-time and rapidly aging British soccer star who shows Santi what this world of Ferraris, mansions, and bosomy Spanish sluts is all about. The painfully sincere Santi is wide-eyed but virtuous and only gets into trouble when photographers catch him in what they mistakenly believe to be naughty acts. After seeing the photos herself, poor Roz is bereft in rainy Newcastle.
Santi's newfound fame in Spain also brings lost family members out of the woodwork. His mother (Elizabeth Pena) abandoned the family back in LA years ago, and now she lives in Madrid with a new husband and a young son who tracks Santi down and boggles his mind with claims of his fraternal relationship. Can old wounds be healed? Si!
In true Rocky II style, the richer and more famous Santi gets, the more miserable he becomes. The film even poaches from the Stallone flick by forcing Santi to make a humiliating commercial (for Japanese tofu) just to earn a few bucks. Bottom line: Fame and fortune mean nothing if you have no one to share them with, as we've all seen in the movies 500 times before.
While all of this, especially the locker room scenes with Beckham, may be fascinating to European soccer fans, American audiences, who don't have a clue about soccer or Europe or the business intrigue of competing European soccer clubs, will be both baffled and bored. What does shine though is the expertly edited soccer scenes themselves. Driven by a pounding soundtrack, they combine real match footage with the actors' own play in an utterly convincing manner.
If your kids play soccer, they may appreciate this tall tale of Santi's rise from obscurity to shin-padded glory, but once you pop in the DVD, chances are you won't want to stick around.
Aka Goal 2.
Wasn't that Pele's number?