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Rudo y Cursi



Half-brothers Beto and Tato Verdusco live at home with mom, work as fruit pickers and play for the local Mexican soccer team. Beto juggles a wife, two kids and a gambling habit while Tato dreams of a singing career. One day, fate intervenes when a soccer talent scout gives Tato the opportunity to try out for a big Mexico City team. Eventually Beto gets his own opportunity to play in the second division, and the brothers' new success and lifestyle will have significant changes and challenges for both guys as the contrast of sibling rivalry and brotherly bonds send them into an uncertain future.


After first gaining worldwide attention in the 2001 sleeper hit from Mexico, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal have each gone on to significant individual success and are now delightfully re-teamed in a film written and directed by Y Tu writer Carlos Cuaron, who certainly knows how to get the best from his stars. As Beto, Luna presents a three-dimensional portrait of a guy whose flaws threaten his future, while Bernal is fun as Tato, a goodhearted and friendly soul with misguided dreams of a musical career. The nature of the scripting finds each actor on screen alone much of the time, but together or apart, the teaming works just like it did the first time. Standout in the supporting cast is Guillermo Francella as Batuta, the talent scout who sets the story in motion. He's superb. Dolores Heredia as the mother and Adriana Paz as Beto's wife ably round out the featured female roles.


While Rudo y Cursi never seems to take itself too seriously, it's not a mindless exercise concocted simply to get Luna and Bernal back together. There's real heft in the underlying theme of the cryptic nature of real brotherhood, and the film makes some surprising conclusions that add gravitas to Cuaron's engaging screenplay.


Luna and Bernal are such an attractive team, it's a shame that the storyline separates them for a good portion of the picture. The separation may be necessary for the narrative, but the scenes when they are on screen together are the ones that really crackle.


Bernal gets his chance to sing a wretched Spanish version of "I Want You to Want Me" in a dopey video as his misguided character Tato proves sports talent doesn't necessarily equal musical ability. It's the movie's most amusing scene.


Beyond obviously the Spanish-language audience, Rudo y Cursi may cross over into other markets, providing a much needed boon for foreign-language films in America. Give it a shot at your local theater first.



Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.