Not quite The Further Adventures of Cain & Abel, the second coming of Beavis & Butt-Head, or Peyton Meets Eli, but energetic fun nonetheless. Rudo y Cursi is a multiple brother act, written and directed by Carlos Cuarón and produced by elder sibling Alfonso, director of Y Tu Mamá También (which Carlos co-wrote), reuniting Mamá's co-stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, playing half-brothers to boffo effect. Nearly as popular on its home territory as the first Cuarón hit, Rudo y Cursi is a similarly manic, if less psychologically fraught, exercise in male bonding and fraternal rivalry. Rudo (Luna) and Cursi (Bernal) are a ripe pair of bumpkins—the former irascible and inarticulate, the latter expansive and voluble. Each is a potential soccer star—or so we're told by the little hustler Batuta (Guillermo Francella), who, in discovering the brothers and providing the movie's voice-over narration, more or less conducts the action. Batuta can only take the brothers with him to Mexico City one at a time; thus we can enjoy their miserable digs, mind-blowing exposure to frozen food, locker-room hazing, and heady success twice. The sports action runs a distant second to screwball character comedy, and the denouement is pretty downbeat. In Rudo y Cursi, the rocky road to success is just a dead end—or a big circular drive.
García Bernal on the soccer pitch.
Opens at Guild 45 and Meridian, Fri., May 22. Rated R. 103 minutes.