Last night, PJ and I watched Rudo y Cursi, which reunites Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, who had previously starred together in one my favorite movies, Y tu mamá también. In this movie, they play two brothers who compete against each other for their mother’s love, for their social status in the local community, and, most importantly, in soccer. Here’s the trailer:

Garcia Bernal plays Tato, who is a talented scorer, and Luna plays Beto, a great goalie. Tato is, as his nickname suggests, also a big romantic, someone who falls in love deeply and quickly without thinking it through. He’s also passionate about  singing, which is the career he really wants. Beto is married and has several children. He’s always been the responsible brother — he’s even the foreman of a banana factory when the movie begins — except for one thing: he has a major gambling problem.

Shortly after the movie begins, the two brothers are discovered by a talent scout who wants to manage their football careers. Both brothers are older than the usual rookie, but the scout thinks he can help them anyway.

This is where the movie’s plot really takes off: the whole point is to see how fame and success affects each of the brothers and their relationship to one another. Each of the defining characteristics is augmented by fame and wealth, and the movie traces their rise and fall as a result.

On the one hand, Tato, nicknamed Cursi, devotes more time to his passions, his hot, girlfriend, Maya, played by Jessica Mas (who seems to delight in her character’s trashiness), who is a famous t.v. personality, and his singing, despite the fact that his girlfriend is nothing more than a gold digger and he has no talent for singing. Beto, on the other hand, becomes even more addicted to gambling as he’s better able to afford higher stakes games.

Garcia Bernal is always interesting to watch in a movie, though this one doesn’t really give him all that much to do. The scenes in which Tato sings are especially well done — Garcia Bernal shows us his character’s love for singing even though he’s bad at it. He does a good job at keeping Tato from being just a joke.

Luna is he the standout in this movie. His character thinks more than his brother does, and Luna is great at showing us that Beto knows what he’s doing is wrong and yet can’t help himself. Luna’s also aging really well. His part here is the more difficult one, since he’s often the “straight man” to Tato’s humor, and Luna does a great job with the role.

In sum, this movie is a morality tale that emphasizes how these characters’ flaws are only exacerbated by success. Overall, I liked it well enough. It wasn’t anything special or terribly insightful, but I enjoyed its humor and obvious love for its characters.

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