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Two brothers, Tato (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Beto (Diego Luna), live simple lives in their rural Mexican village. Both aspire for greater things until one day a talent scout spots them both playing football in a local game and offers them a chance at the big time, and they both jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately the offer comes with a ‘but’. He can only take one of them and the decision is made over a penalty kick. Tato wins the face off (despite Beto trying to manipulate the result the other way) and he’s off to become a high profile football star.

Rudo and Cursi
Soon after, Teno arranges for Beto to join another team in the lower league and he soon establishes himself as a star goal keeper. With both of their lives becoming everything they ever dreamt of, the two brothers begin living the high life, only to have everything around them begin to fall apart.

I’m not really sure what to make of Rudo and Cursi (or Rough and Cheesy in English). For a story that has a lot of charm and elements to like about it, especially with the fun that the cast are obviously having (see Gael García Bernal's version of Cheap Trick's 'I want you to want me' as a prime example), I never quite warmed to the tale which plays like a fable for the most part.

Rudo and Cursi
The story of the two brothers and how their choices affect their fortunes hints that it’s heading somewhere. The wise voiceovers linking football metaphors to life events seem to be teaching us lessons and seeing how these brothers sink more and more into the dark side of celebrity really feels like we might get a heart-warming payoff but for me nothing really gelled together to sell the point of all of this.

The casual approach to everything has highs and lows where one moment you’re totally on board and the next it all feels a little too loose. The focus on the brothers sometimes feels like a mere glimpse at their lives and the total lack of seeing the actual football matches in any detail may very well be intentional for the purpose of keeping all eyes on the brothers' conflict but really kept me at arm’s length instead of getting me involved in the drama.

As I said, the cast here really were the only things that kept me locked into the movie. Gael and Diego are likable guys and while their characters were a little one dimensional, these actors really were the key because without them I may very well have struggled.

Rudo and Cursi

Video


Despite being primarily on locations in football pitches and green banana fields, the transfer here is a little bland. The weather seems quite overcast and not as warm as the costumes hint at and frankly everything feels a little dull because of it.

Details and shadows are used well in the darker scenes but to say that there was anything that could be considered above average would be reaching and generally the transfer here is a little lifeless.

Audio


With most of the audio living in the centre speaker with dialogue and the odd atmospheric living in the left and rights, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track doesn’t really come to life until the big finale football match. Here the crowds erupt in the rears, the subtle bass driven heartbeats of the tension fill the room and while it arrives late it shines out of what is a mundane and typical track, doing little to impress.

Rudo and Cursi

Extras


There’s not a great deal on offer here with only two sets of short interviews. The first is with Carlos Cuaran (director) and Alfonso Cuaran (producer) (05:20) which has the questions on screen and cutting across to their short answers. The second interview with Gael and Diego (07:12), while a little more lively, doesn’t offer too much in regards to quality.

Lastly there’s the trailer and starting up the disc we get trailers for Coco before Channel, Away Days and Is Anybody There? As well as (and annoyingly) adverts for Galaxy Chocolate and  for Children (is there no escaping adverts nowadays?)

Rudo and Cursi

Overall


Rudo and Cursi had promise considering all who were involved (Cha Cha Chá Producciones—the production company created by Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu), but I came away lukewarm to it at best.
 
Hardcore football fans might (and it’s a big ‘might’) find something in this that I missed, but for me, all it was in the end was a change of pace to what I’ve been watching of late and not one I can say I found all that refreshing.


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