EIFF 2009: Rudo y Cursi
Beto dreams of being a singer. Tato dreams of being a goalie. One day a man in a loud shirt wearing too wide a smile enters their lives and offers them a chance to escape their poor rural existence as banana pickers to become professional footballers. Real life best buds Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal play the half-brothers whose eponymous nick-names, Rudo and Cursi respectively, roughly translated as tough and corny, describe not only the characters but the film as well. Rudo is devoted to his family but he likes a fight and gambles away everything, right down to his wife’s blender. Cursi is a gullible lad who loves the ladies and has an ill-advised stab at a singing career (including a hilarious but cringe-inducing video dressed in a sparkly cowboy outfit). Neither knows what is really good for them.
Rudo y Cursi is the debut film from Carlos Cuaron, brother of Alfonso who produces alongside other Mexican cinema heavyweights Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Cuaron isn’t quite sure of the tone of the film, as a drugs subplot darkens the mood somewhat, but the chemistry between Luna and Bernal keeps things afloat as do the sparsely used football scenes which get the heart pounding. This is an age old story of sibling rivalry and the pitfalls of fame and fortune but it’s told with such ribald and wit that you can forgive the clichés and that ultimately the film feels somewhat thin.