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Rudo y Cursi

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Rudo y CursiToday I caught the first hour of Carlos Cuarón’s new film, Rudo y Cursi (nicknames for protagonist brothers, ‘Rude’ Beto and ‘Corny’ Tato, played respectively by the reunited duo of Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal). Rudo is the foreman at a banana ranch, with a wife and child, and a minor gambling problem. Cursi dreams of becoming a pop star, but like Rudo, appears to be going nowhere fast. Suddenly, on their way to football practice, fate hands them an opportunity in the guise of a slimy sports agent, whose sports car has broken down at the side of the road. After a contest to see who should get a shot at the big league, and an awkward passage prefiguring the explosive rivalry to come, both men end up playing for major clubs.

It is a rough-and-ready production without real stylistic flourishes, which swiftly develops into a fable about these brothers from a tough but familial background on the ranch in rural Mexico, who when whisked away to the big city to become star footballers, swiftly succumb to the same hamartic vices which seemed innocuous in their small town.

These are interesting, nigh on compelling characters with characteristically strong performances from the leads, but on the whole it came across as a bit of a shallow enterprise: something I seem to find with the work of both Carlos and Jonás (Cuaróns the Younger). Of course there is a certain excitement and glamour around the reunited stars of Y tu Mamá También. And again, in my opinion, Luna’s performance seems more authentic and compelling than that of Bernal.

This is not as satisfying an event as one might have hoped for the first from the production partnership of Alejandro González Innaritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, known collectively as ‘Cha Cha Cha’. But it is no major disappointment, and bodes well for the further four projects in their pipeline.

Rudo y Cursi, Dir. & Writ. Carlos Cuarón, Canana Films & Cha Cha Cha, Mexico, 2009


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