Movie Review: Bend it Like Beckham

So, what’s the big deal? A nice enough little movie, but poorly acted, poorly written, and far too long. Didn’t I see this already in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? (Which was well acted, well written, and the right length)

Now that I think about it, this wasn’t even a nice enough little movie.

The soccer was terrible. The few times that the soccer playing wasn’t being edited in, it was atrocious. I suppose that would have been okay if the whole point of the movie wasn’t how these two girls had a shot to get out of their ordinary lives and do something special because they were supposed to be so good at soccer. The only way they could be percieved as talented was because of the teams they played. Even on the climactic shot (‘pon whence the Beckhaminsian bending transpired), the goalie on the opposing team must have suffered a stroke, as she started on the completely wrong side of the goal, took two ponderous steps before a considered diving move which got her nowhere near the ball. Perhaps this team (which was in the final mind you) went by the “put the fat kid in goal” theory.

The acting was terrible. The lead was tolerable. The mother of her friend was tolerable. Hard to find anyone else who was any good. But to be fair, they didn’t have much to work with. Were any characters 3-dimensional? The leads were at least 2-dimensional, anyone else was likely to break 1.

I truly felt sorry for the other players on the soccer team. 9 girls who were not allowed to have personalities of their own, any life events of their own, even any reaction to the two star players in their midst. Whoops, that’s not totally true — one of them was allowed to shake her big breasts for no apparent reason. Normally I like that in a movie, but it just seemed weird in this one.

The sad part was how this movie took many of the worst parts of independent English movie making, and managed to throw in some of the worst parts of American cinema to complete it. To wit, the musical soundtrack. Martin Scorsese is allowed to use whatever music he wants. The man understands rock music, and understands how to use it correctly to enhance a scene. Cameron Crowe is allowed to use whatever music he wants. Wes Anderson is allowed to use whatever music he wants. Gurinder Chadha is not. Every 6 minutes without fail, new music would come blasting out. Not good music, not fitting music, not geared towards the movie, just music.

Maybe you have to be a 14-year old English female soccer player of Indian descent to be inspired. It must be me.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Bend it Like Beckham”

  1. I liked this movie. I agree that it wasn’t particularly well-acted, but it kept me entertained. Much more than I can say for most of the movies I’ve seen lately. I’d give it a B+. BTW, Suggested movie rating structure: Movies–>5 barks, 4 barks, 3 barks, 2 barks, piss on this fire hydrant.

  2. I loved this movie. I saw it when I was travelling in New Zealand about 8 months before it was released in the U.S.

    Granted, I don’t know much about soccer, so all the soccer inadequacies did not bother me. However, being the child of immigrants (Asian for another matter), there were many themes that played out that I could relate to.

    Of course they couldn’t develop the characters of all the girls on the soccer team as there were already so many characters to keep track of already.

    I liked the music too, but what do I know? I still like Petula Clark.

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