Rudo & Cursi Movie Review
Tato (Garcia) and his brother Beto (Luna) live in a small town, where Beto, nicknamed Rudo (tough), is married to Tonia (Paz) and has two small kids and Tato dreams of becoming a singing sensation. Then Tato is spotted by a football scout (Francella) and taken to Mexico City to play with the pros. The media nickname him Cursi (fancy). Beto follows soon, and both struggle with the pressures of fame--Tato with a sexy TV-star girlfriend (Mas) and Beto with gambling problems. And they're about to face off in the match of their life.
The film captures the football's global grassroots, as we meet these characters working in a banana plantation and devoting every spare minute to soccer. Like everyone, they have very big dreams. But even when their big breaks come along, it doesn't play out as imagined. While maintaining a light, comical tone, writer-director Cuaron (Alfonso's brother, intriguingly) never shies from the dark reality.
Garcia and Luna are a terrific double-act, making the most of the script's bristling humour as the brothers become national sensations. From success on the pitch to Tato's hilarious music videos (including a polka version of I Want You to Want Me), then dipping into gambling and drug addiction, both actors keep their characters firmly grounded. They're believable and likeable, and we never give up hope for them to sort themselves out and find what's really important.
Underneath the lively, often in-your-face plot, the film is a bracing examination of the difference between talent and passion. And it takes a perhaps too-telling turn when the boys' big sister (Aguilar) marries the local gangster (Alfonso). Everyone in this story is straining for more than they have--success, fame, money, power. And the film's relaxed, scruffy style is perfect for capturing the irony of their situations. Because essentially they were much happier before all of this began. And even though the big final match feels like the end of the world, it's only a game. Maybe.