Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, the Mexican Matt & Ben—never more toxic than when paired on screen—reunite in Rudo y Cursi to denigrate rubes from Jalisco as slow-witted provincial brothers and banana plantation workers whose unlikely rise to soccer stardom supplies the purported comedy. García Bernal’s “Cursi” (corny) is a gullible romantic who wants to run off to Texas on a quest for a singing career; Luna’s “Rudo” (tough) is a husband, father, farm foreman, and fuck-up with twin passions for gambling and bullying Cursi. After a fútbol scout (Guillermo Francella) watches them play a local game on a dirt pitch, Cursi serendipitously makes a decisive kick to best his more talented goalkeeping sibling (in a groaningly obvious setup for the third act), and is whisked off to Mexico City and the pros. When Rudo follows, first-time feature director Carlos Cuarón (co-writer of brother Alfonso’s obnoxious Y Tu Mamá También, the leads’ launching pad) turns the farce into a gag-starved Dumb and Dumber, with Luna, sprouting facial foliage worse than his Milk mustache, falling into debt with gangsters from his gaming losses and coke habit, and García Bernal donning Tejano cowboy duds for a music video cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (like nearly everything on view, not as funny as it sounds). The overaged brats flail about slapstickily, undergoing shower-room pubic shavings and cock-whippings, returning home as celebrities for their sister’s wedding to a drug lord, and trading “asshole” and “faggot” jibes in the absence of a También–style make-out scene that would bring some agreeably incestuous adventurousness into the picture. As Rudo and Cursi are correctly labeled old for soccer prospects, these bucolic 30-year-old ninnies are even more tiresome than the randy little shits the stars played in their breakthrough vehicle. As Cursi boinks his TV hostess girlfriend on a kitchen countertop, a mock-portentous narration by the scout announces, “Loving a woman is like loving a ball—she requires guidance and control.” The younger Cuarón should’ve applied either virtue to this bungled rehash of sports comedy clichés and sophomoric star power.
Rudo y Cursi @ the Tribeca Film Festival