Kuno Becker is Living The Dream.
GOAL II: LIVING THE DREAM (Jaume Collet-Serra). 115 minutes. Opens Friday (August 29). For venues and times, see film times. Rating: NNN
Sports movies must practically write themselves these days. Like so: Young Hotshot Santiago (Kuno Becker) of Newcastle United gets snapped up by Real Madrid, but Down-to-Earth Fiancée Roz (Anna Friel) doesn't want to move. Young Hotshot is regarded as a threat by Grizzled Veteran Gavin (Alessandro Nivola), and all the attention swells Santiago's head until he fires Faithful Manager Glen (Stephen Dillane).
Saving the film from complete cliché-itude is a subplot involving Santiago's long-lost mama (Elizabeth Peña) as well as the denouement that doesn't wrap the whole thing up in a neat little package.
But honestly, even if Goal II ticked off every box in the sports-flick checklist, who cares? It's the Beautiful Game on film, people. Some of the greatest slightly-over-the-hill all-stars show up: David Beckham, Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo.
The football is gorgeous (even if none of these guys play for the team any more), as is Flavio Martínez Labiano's cinematography.
If you're suffering from soccer withdrawal after the end of Euro Cup 2008, or even post-Olympics, this film will help keep the crash from being a total bummer.