Footy fever in South America? Isn’t that sooo last month? A commercial opportunity has been missed here. Still, kids still experiencing World Cup withdrawal symptoms may be entertained by this animated oddity from Argentina (an unexpected move from director Juan José Campanella after winning an Oscar for ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’). Older viewers may struggle slightly with the wonkiness and logical lapses in this tale of a foosball table that comes stroppily to life. Its fun-size players rush to the aid of weedy pub owner Amadeo (Rupert Grint) when school-bully-turned-football-sensation Flash (Anthony Head) buys up the village and brings in the bulldozers. Why? To avenge a childhood foosball defeat, apparently – though even in this film’s knowingly silly universe, that’s pretty thin.
‘The Unbeatables’ was a smash on home turf, and it’s certainly as brash and busy and technically slick as a lot of Hollywood studio animations. However it’s clear that not all its Latin flair has made it to the English dub: the voice work feels stilted and perfunctory, while there’s a sense that more locally-flavoured gags have been circuitously translated. Points, however, for its ‘2001’-aping opening about the evolution of the sport – a sly dig at many footballers’ Neanderthal reputation.