Knowing how unoriginal childern’s sports comedy is in general, I don’t know what got me watching this movie in the first place, so ironically, it wouldn’t even be right to call this movie disappointing. It is exactly what you would expect; cheap laughs and cheesy messages about winning not being everything and the important thing is to have fun, or worse, teamwork is best. I guess it makes matters worse that this film is an American movie based on soccer, because Americans don’t know shit about soccer and it looks like the scriptwriters never even bothered look up any of the rules, so the whole thing looks even more awkward than what it should have.
In this film, you got the usual mix of sterotypes and unintentional ignorant messages. Whereas in a basketball movie the good players would be black, I guess in a soccer movie the good players have gotta be Italians, and it was either that or Brazilians, but you get more cheap stereotypical jokes from Italian characters than Brazilian ones. Not content, they even got a very small Japanese kid who is the ultimate underdog. To make things even more unoriginal, this is a team of losers that predictably proceeds to win the whole thing; paradoxically, a nice ending could have wrapped the movie up had the team not won, but I guess you don’t want to actually give children the message that losing is okay, you can just pretend you think so by having the coach tell the players some encouraging speech about the importance of having fun over the importance of winning and still win the league anyways.
Many people will still say that the film has some potential in Will Ferrell, but what can Ferrell do with a movie that actually has no real potential. I’m sure he made a lot of money with it at the end of the day, but even he is goofy, overacting and looks pretty sad during the whole thing. With Elf, Will Ferrell kind of became the image of the one movie that seemed to have updated the children movie genre. Elf was fresh and different, this is a minor league movie ala Little Giants, not even in the same league as the Mighty Ducks and that is really saying a lot. I guess we should all be relieved that at least they didn’t put in an animal who could play soccer or that kind of character ala Air Bud or Ed. It doesn’t matter anyways, it’s still the same old crap.
The film also tried to deviate from the plot with some reoccurring element that is set around a surreal caffeine addiction of the character played by Will Ferrell. Regardless of the fact that you would think they could have done better than come up with that idea, anything that keeps the story away from the soccer pitch is actually is actually a high point in the movie.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – When Ferrell, waiting in a queue at a café to get served, becomes impatient and picks a fight with the woman at the front of the queue who can’t make up her mind on what to get.