Saturday, June 28, 2008
Having made a name for himself at Newcastle FC, gardener turned footballer Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) is suddenly given the opportunity of a lifetime by being offered a contract with Real Madrid. But although the transition starts out successfully, Santiago soon finds it difficult juggling the pressure and fame of being a Galactico with maintaining a long-distance relationship with his fiance Roz (Anna Friel). Matters are complicated further by the possibility of a reunion with his long-distant mother (Elizabeth Pena).
What we say
The first Goal! movie struggled to find the net in terms of box office figures so it's hardly surprising that the makers have gone for broke with the second part of the proposed trilogy. But much like its predecessor, Goal! II: Living The Dream... struggles to find a consistent tone between the football and the drama.
When on the pitch or the training field it often feels like an extended Nike advert or a pop promo and comes backed with a suitably inspiring soundtrack. But away from the game it's hopelessly cliched and cumbersome, dragging its feet through endless melodrama.
Santiago's relationship difficulties with Roz are tiresome and predictable despite the best efforts of Anna Friel to make them seem otherwise, and the sub-plot involving Santiago's mother and new brother merely serve to drag things out to an unnecessarily long length.
Things work far better when offering viewers the unique opportunity of glimpsing behind-the-scenes at one of the world's biggest clubs, taking them inside the dressing room for pre-game kickabouts and the odd wind-up prank.
It's when the likes of David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos and goalkeeper Iker Casillas feature prominently without ever being called upon to act and when Alessandro Nivola's returning character, Gavin Harris, gets to inject some much-needed humour.
The football action relies on a slickly-produced mix of reality and fiction but, like the rest of the film, feels ludicrously contrived, especially since Santiago scores almost every time he comes off the bench. It's another own goal, particularly during the latter stages.
Had writer Mike Jefferies and director Jaume Collet-Serra opted to tackle things from a grittier perspective, Goal! 2 may have felt a bit more authentic. As things stand, it's a formulaic slice of tautology that strives too hard to keep things clean and Fifa-friendly. It ultimately pays a harsh penalty for such poor refereeing.
Running time: 115mins