Movie: Goal!: The Dream Begins

Released: 2006

Stars: Kuno Becker

With: Alessandro Nivola, Stephen Dillane, Tony Plana, Anna Friel (!)

Written By: Mike Jefferies, Adrian Butchart, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais

Reason for Watching: Soccer movie!

I Can Name This Movie In One Note: Underdog sports tale of young star who just needs a break.

You Should See This Movie Because: Hey, a soccer movie!  And the soccer is actually relatively decent, at least as far as soccer movies go.

Anna Friel.  The co-star of Pushing Daisies, for those who haven’t seen the show (and you should, just for the record).  With a British accent.  I mean, yeah, she’s playing the garden variety female interest in the movie, and doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, but still.

The illegal immigration subplot.  Sure, it is handled relatively poorly, but I found it the one bold risk the movie took.

The ridiculous cameos by the likes of Beckham and Zidane.

You Shouldn’t See This Movie Because: It falls into all of the pits of an underdog movie without redeeming itself very often.  The main character gets oodles and oodles of breaks.  Because people believe in him.  Which is great.  But it makes him seem whiny and lucky, not sympathetic at all.  It takes baby steps toward being interesting, such as the illegal immigration subplot, the disapproving father angle, the Roger Dorn-like star of the soccer team, for example.  Ultimately, though, these are all resolved by taking the easy way out.  Which is fine for a chill-inducer like, say, The Rookie.  But there’s really only like 1.5 chills scenes, tops.  And even those aren’t super huge.

Bottom Line: Two of the writers wrote The Bank Job, which I’ll get to shortly, but was a movie I didn’t love (though other Grouches may disagree).  So it is possible I just don’t get them.  More likely, though, this movies has serious flaws, ones that should have been ironed out in the writing process.  I think there may be a really interesting sports movie in this story, but that’s not the movie that ended up being made.

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