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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look: 7.14%
Average: 21.43%
Pretty Bad46.43%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Goal! The Dream Begins
[] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Bend It Like Boredom"
2 stars

Just when you thought you were safe, Disney fulfills their unspoken obligation to the moviegoing public by cranking out yet another hokey underdog sports drama and thus checking soccer off their list of "sports to inspire by" (in case 'The Big Green' didn’t quite do the trick). The first in a threatened trilogy, 'Goal! The Dream Begins' is a two-hour bombardment of clichés so tedious and tepid that it plays like an extra thick blend of every sports movie you have seen, didn’t want to see, and don’t need to see and makes the prospect of two forthcoming sequels quite an arduous one.

This time around, the Disney Sports Movie Underdog of the week is Santiago (Kuno Becker), a Mexican immigrant to Los Angeles who dreams of playing professional soccer someday, much to the dismay of his father (Tony Plana). Sure enough, he is spotted during soccer one day by a former pro footballer (Stephen Dillane), who Santiago impresses enough to pull some strings and arrange a tryout for the Newcastle team. Of course he will manage to fly from the US to the UK (without proper papers or anything, but I suppose he just bribed border officials with sheer gumption), conceal his asthma condition, nearly blow his shot with the team, redeem himself with the coach (Marcel Iures), win the interest of his hotshot teammate (Alessandro Nivola) and a young girl (Anna Friel), and train dramatically in the rain before finally earning his chance to play professionally and makes amends with his father.

Director Danny Cannon, whose resume includes Judge Dredd (!), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (!!), and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (?), and a total of four screenwriters kick it down a notch by simultaneously checking off every last cliché in the underdog, immigrant, and sports handbooks and employing each overwrought technique to depict them, particularly the slow-motion fetish. This pretty much makes for the world’s most melodramatic Adidas commercial, complete with a soundtrack mostly done by Oasis and shoddily shot soccer matches. The biggest surprise in its entire running time is the fact that the Big Game that caps off the film is so anticlimactic.

Otherwise, each and every scene is exhaustively predictable, and not even the actors can manage to surprise. Becker is little more than a pretty face with a peppy attitude, Nivola basically becomes the Colin Farrell of English football stars, Iures decides to give him one more shot with a stern face but caring heart, and Dillane sees himself in the rookie and refuses to give up on him. They all go through the paces without an iota more or less of effort than they need to, and the whole film seems to marinade itself in such minimal exertion from beginning to end.

During one of Santiago’s several slumps from which he will undoubtedly recover, someone suggests that he may not have the pace and stamina for an English game. At this rate, one would have immense difficulty finding anyone with enough stamina to withstand this movie, let alone the rest of the trilogy.

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originally posted: 05/20/06 17:05:00
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User Comments

6/09/10 Fred Not that good. Terrible plot and I I wanted to watch soccer I'd watch soccer. 2 stars
10/11/08 noops.... i m a soccer fan... i luved the movie 5 stars
8/30/08 Kristijan It's interesting bcs it shows a bit of "off scene" of the world of professional football 4 stars
11/27/06 Mimi Inspiring movie, great for soccer fans. 5 stars
9/19/06 Milligan I love the Movie awesome 5 stars
9/12/06 arcelia I like the movie even though some scenes aren't believable. We just needed a soccer movie. 4 stars
5/26/06 Linda ¡DE MIL MARAVILLAS! Loved Kuno Becker as well as the message! 5 stars
5/22/06 a40oz2heaven its a great movie 5 stars
5/16/06 ED Salas 5 stars
5/16/06 lynn i think this movie its awesome is one of the best sccer movies so far 5 stars
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  12-May-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 12-Sep-2006

  30-Sep-2005 (12)

  16-Feb-2006 (PG)

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