I should start by saying that I’m biased. I like almost anything that Gael García Bernal stars in, including Alfonso Cuarón‘s film Y tu mamá también. That film features Bernal and Diego Luna in the story of the sexual tension between two wealthy, testosterone-driven teen mexicanos road triping with a beautiful woman (Ana López Mercado) during the fall of the PRI. Bernal and Luna’s brotherly chemistry from that film translates perfectly into Rudo y Cursi–where they play actual brothers. And speaking of brothers, the film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón’s brother Carlos.
Cursi and Rudo are two bumpkin-y campesinos who work on a banana plantation and play fútbol in their spare time. Their lives change when a big-time soccer scout accidentally stumbles across them. He gets them both dreaming big: Rudo of soccer stardom, Cursi of being…a famous singer. The trouble is, the boys are kind of daft and don’t always see the reality of the world around them. Rudo is getting older (by sports standards) and doesn’t quite have the disposition for team sports (hence his name). He also might have a teensy problem with bad luck when it comes to gambling. His obsessions blind him to his obligations as a husband and father. Cursi has the style of a karaoke singer, dreams of shallow models, and ignores his real talent–his golden foot. But his devotion to song creates one of the highlights of the film, a music video for his cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (“Quiero que me quieras“).
Bernal and Luna are both infectious in this movie. And the film has some of those touching, makes-you-sleep-better-at-night moments because of it. But I won’t say it’s all fun and games, even though it is a comedy. Cursi’s singing career has some truly painful moments in it, including a headlining…er, matinee performance at a carnival. And Rudo makes more than one just plain stupid and dangerous decision. But in the end, I suppose you could say that they both get what they deserve.