Back at the start of the decade, in the sexy, bittersweet Mexican movie Y tu mamá también, Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal leaped to international stardom playing a pair of horny teenage friends who entice Maribel Verdú’s beautiful older woman into accompanying them on a road trip to an idyllic faraway beach.
This time around, the duo star as a pair of hardscrabble Mexican brothers who get the chance to escape from rural poverty when they are talent-spotted by a louche football scout and sent to play for rival big-city clubs. Bernal’s Tato becomes a star goalscorer for one team and wins the nickname ‘Cursi’ (which more or less translates as ‘corny’), while Luna’s Beto follows in his footsteps as a goalkeeper for an opposing team and gains the soubriquet ‘Rudo’, meaning ‘rough’.
This isn’t a simple rag-to-riches tale, though, more a cautionary moral fable: the duo are swallowed voraciously by modern celebrity culture and then spat out again. And it’s typical of the film’s playful irony that soccer isn’t even the boys’ biggest passion: Tato dreams of being a famous singer, while Beto is addicted to gambling.
Rudo y Cursi doesn’t have Y tu mamá también’s steamy sensuality (though Berna’s Tato does enjoy several romps with a leggy TV hostess played by the drop-dead gorgeous Jessica Mas) and director Carlos Cuarón, brother of Y tu mamá’s director Alfonso, lacks his sibling’s swagger as a cinematic stylist, but the movie jogs along entertainingly enough, even if its shots don’t always find the back of the net. And if you hate football, don’t worry: there’s barely any on-pitch action.
On general release from 26th June.