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Rudo y Cursi 

Wednesday, May 13 2009
Not quite The Further Adventures of Cain & Abel, the second coming of Beavis & Butt-Head, or Peyton Meets Eli, but energetic fun nonetheless, Rudo y Cursi is a multiple brother act: It’s written and directed by Carlos Cuarón and produced by elder sibling Alfonso, director of Y Tu Mamá También, which Carlos co-wrote, and reunites Mamá’s co-stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, playing half-brothers to boffo effect. Nearly as popular on its home territory as the first Cuarón hit, Rudo y Cursi is a similarly manic, if less psychologically fraught, exercise in male-bonding and fraternal rivalry. Rudo (Luna) and Cursi (Bernal) are a ripe pair of bumpkins—the former, irascible and inarticulate; the latter, expansive and voluble. Each is a potential soccer star—or so we’re told by the little hustler, Batuta (Guillermo Francella), who, in discovering the brothers and providing the movie’s voiceover narration, more or less conducts the action. Batuta can only take the brothers with him to Mexico City one at a time; thus we can enjoy their miserable digs, mind-blowing exposure to frozen food, locker room hazing, and heady success twice. The sports action runs a distant second to screwball character comedy, and the denouement is pretty downbeat—at least by the grotesque standards of the conventional North American sports movie. In Rudo y Cursi, the rocky road to success is just a dead end—or a big circular drive.
May 15-June 11, 2009

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J. Hoberman


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