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Goal II: Living the Dream
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by brianorndorf

"Not a lick of originality, but still great fun"
4 stars

2005’s “Goal!” was about as obvious as a film could possibly get, but it had charm sandwiched between its relentless servings of cliché. Now, the idea of turning a 10-minute idea into a trilogy of movies seemed imposing at first, but “Goal II” continues the franchise’s recipe of personality over originality.

Now a soccer sensation in England, Santiago (Kuno Becker) is offered a shot playing with Real Madrid. While he risks upsetting his fiancée Roz (Anna Friel), Santiago grabs the opportunity to join the superstar club. Now on a team with friend Gavin (Alessandro Nivola), not to mention David Beckham, Santiago soon proves his goal-scoring worth to his coach (Rutger Hauer), becoming a media superstar. With his ego on the rise, Santiago finds his fast-lane life alienates Roz, piques the curiosity of a whorish talk show host (Leonor Varela), ruins his relationship with agent/mentor Glen (Stephan Dillane), and provided competition with Gavin, who is coming to terms with age and athletic relevance.

If it’s humanly possible, “Goal II” is an even simpler film than it predecessor. A featherweight mediation on the perils and buffoonery of success, the sequel doesn’t exactly reach for the top shelf when it comes to quality screenwriting ingredients that bake compelling drama. No, “Goal II” simply wants to paint the most basic picture of conflict and betrayal because, after all, this is the type of cinema that needs to translate all over the world.

Now, knowing that this sequel is going to be as broad as an inebriated Ethel Merman during a particularly lonely night at ComedySportz, it’s easier to pick up on the film’s small achievements. For starters, director Jaume Collet-Serra (“House of Wax”) has proficient control over the soccer sequences. When all else fails the picture, the combat is strikingly filmed, putting the viewer on the pitch with the characters as they muscle their way to scoring position. A certain degree of footage is manipulated to put Becker in the matches or to give him the perfect shot, but I enjoyed the game footage in “Goal!” and “Goal II” is equally as engaging.

Also doing their part to keep the material from drowning are the performances, especially Becker, who really feels every line as though the whole film is riding on his work. In many ways, that seems to be the case, but thankfully Nivola is given a little more to do in the sequel as his character deals with obsolescence. I also enjoyed Elizabeth Pena’s contribution as Santiago’s biological mother, who sneaks back into the star’s life through the obnoxious efforts of her brat kid. A needless kink in the story, but, then again, most of Santiago’s kinks feel like afterthoughts from nervous producers frantically trying to fill three movies.

Once “Goal II” hits the big game scenario for the finale, the film deflates, having finally succumbed to the pressure of formula. However, this isn’t the last chapter of Santiago’s story, and “Goal II” leaves several subplots hanging in the air to entice crowds to come back in 2009 for another serving. It’s not an unpleasant proposition, but I fear the increasing burden of cliché will cave in the final chapter.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16666&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/05/07 16:43:06
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User Comments

9/04/08 noops nice one.. but first part was better 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Aug-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Mar-2009

UK
  09-Feb-2007 (12A)

Australia
  29-Aug-2008
  DVD: 17-Mar-2009




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