"Rudo y Cursi": Unlikable characters doom ‘Y Tu Mama’ team’s new film

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, May 21, 2009 2:42pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

When “Y Tu Mama Tambien” came out in 2001, it rang a bell on behalf of the resurgent Mexican cinema, which has spawned some major talents over the last decade.

The two stars of that film, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, have seen their international careers flourish. Now they’re reunited for another Mexican picture, “Rudo y Cursi,” a much zanier outing that seems unlikely to repeat the success of their earlier hit.

This one is directed by Carlos Cuaron, who wrote the Oscar-nominated “Y Tu Mama” with his brother, director Alfonso Cuaron.

“Rudo” gives Carlos Cuaron a chance to zip through a collection of his country’s key cultural obsessions: soccer, bad TV shows and glitzy pop music.

The slightly surreal story line begins in the countryside, where two half-brothers plod through life while dreaming of riches. Tato (Garcia Bernal) is convinced of his musical talent and plans to be the next big accordion-playing pop star.

His more aggressive brother, Beto (Luna), wants to be a professional goalie. Astoundingly, thanks to luck and apparently some actual talent, the two lads are scooped up by a talent scout and hauled away to Mexico City, where temptation beckons.

The plot is far too bizarre to be able to predict from there, except to note that, at first, success is surprisingly possible. Beto actually is a good soccer player and Tato strikes gold with a Spanish-language version of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.”

The whole movie seems to be a satire of certain tinny, cheapjack dreams of success. And at a moment when a shot on “American Idol” is the epitome of making it big, Cuaron and his crew might be on to something.

Problem is, the movie just isn’t that fun to watch. In conjuring up his cruddy modern world, Cuaron has made a movie that looks cruddy.

And despite the efforts of the leading men, the characters are so rancid in their ambitions and attitudes that we’re not supposed to root for them in any way. That makes for a long and fairly tiresome 100 minutes.

“Rudo y Cursi” ½

The stars of “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, are reunited in this tinny comedy about two half-brothers whose dreams of making it big seem tantalizingly within reach. The characters are so rancid that the movie becomes fairly tiresome early on. (In Spanish, with English subtitles.)

Rated: R for language, nudity

Showing: Guild 45th, Meridian

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