Time Out saysGiven the undistinguished history of the genre, back to cringe-makers like ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ and ‘Escape To Victory’, it’s hard to be thrilled by the prospect of another football movie, so it’s not saying much to claim ‘Goal!’ could be the least terrible of its ilk. With his nifty footwork, newcomer Kuno Becker certainly looks the part as perky hopeful Santiago Munez, a Mexican illegal immigrant spotted in LA’s Sunday league by Stephen Dillane’s former professional. It’s his assessment that the lad has what it takes, and he lands him the promise of a trial at Newcastle, but only if Santiago risks leaving his struggling family to bet everything on winning a place on the Premiership squad.
Subsequent events will only spring surprises for those who find ‘Roy of the Rovers’ comics too cerebral, but the movie’s utterly shameless predictability is slightly offset by a certain amount of gruff Geordie humour, courtesy of screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (veterans of ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’ and ‘The Likely Lads’). Indeed, the performances from paternally wily manager Marcel Iures and Alessandro Nivola’s overpaid, under-performing England star are so well observed they almost deserve to be in a movie that doesn’t stoop to toe-curling cameos from Messrs Beckham, Zidane and Raúl. Elsewhere, the combination of button-pushing uplift, sundry sweeping helicopter shots and a bombastic score that sounds like it came on a free transfer from a Tony Scott movie proves as resistibly synthetic as the CGI-enhanced heroics on the pitch, but the movie must be pulling some sort of trickery by succeeding in having us care, albeit briefly, for the fortunes of Newcastle United.
Fri Sep 30, 2005