'Goal! The Dream Begins'

>Aside from a flirtation with the hot-button immigration issue, this inspirational movie about an underdog soccer player from tough East Los Angeles is pretty standard stuff. Mexican TV heartthrob Kuno Becker stars as Santiago Munez, a rec league standout who lands a trial with the fabled Newcastle United club of northeastern England. The appealing young man's tribulations are predictable, his triumph inevitable; while he gets respect (and the girl, played by Anna Friel), we get another Rocky-style dose of emotional uplift, cloaked in the usual game-day clichés. Not a bad movie, but as familiar as Alex Rodriguez's batting average. Two sequels are already in the works—probably aimed at the soccer-crazy international market. Brit director Danny Cannon and Brit screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais know their fútbol, but will American moviegoers pay to play?


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