Synopsis: Beto (Luna) and Tato (Bernal) are a pair of rivaling, dim-witted brothers who work on a dusty banana ranch and play soccer for their local team. Beto, a goalie whose hot temper on the field earns him the nickname of Rudo, dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, while Tato wants to be a famous singer. They both share the dream of building a big house for their mother, Elvira, but all of their desires seem completely out of reach, that is, until a talent scout, Batuta, discovers their skill on the field. To Beto’s chagrin, it is Tato, whose curlicue field play earns him the nickname of Cursi, who is chosen to become a star player. Not to be bested, Beto scores a goalie position on a rival team, further intensifying the competition between them. But success makes the brothers confront their own personal demons and sets them on a chase for more than just soccer balls. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Round-up: "Mexico has had its share of debilitating transnational news lately, but the arrival of the puckishly entertaining, fleet-of-foot drama-comedy 'Rudo y Cursi' deserves a hearty welcome," writes Robert Abele, obviously a fan of the film, in his review for the LA Times in which he describes the film as "a kind of travelogue of ambition and loserdom, from the rural clarity of a dirt pitch to the dangerous allure of the literal and figurative green." Few critics have offered unqualified praise, however, and several have drawn attention to the film's manic, sometimes uneven tone. In his assessment of the movie, J. Hoberman writes, "'Rudo y Cursi' is as fatalistic as any film noir, but it's played for cartoonish screwball comedy. At once smooth and frantic, filled with cozy clutter and vulgar jive, the movie subsumes its moralizing in frat-house entertainment." Similarly, the New York Times' A.O. Scott say that while "the film is lively and engaging, it also, in the end, feels a little thin, largely because it is unsure of how earnestly to treat its own lessons about fate, ambition and brotherly love." In his review for indieWIRE, Eric Hynes offers perhaps the most damning assessment of the film. He writes, "'Rudo y Cursi' is an eager-to-please, mainstream entertainment machine. But as in a well oiled, whirring contraption that skips a gear, the moving parts never click into a working film. Tap on it and it topples." Still, the overall critical consensus seems to be that this is a breezily likable, if somewhat slight, film.