"Bend It Like Beckham"
Directed by Gurinder Chadha.
Written by Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Burges, and Guljit Bindra.
Starring Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 4/25/03
There is a point during the end credits
where the cast and crew of the film “Bend It Like Beckham” is just
kind of hangin’ out, hamming it up for the camera while singing the
Buster Poindexter song “Hot, Hot, Hot”, that really sums up the
experience of the film.
You know, it’s just a good time to sit
through “Bend It Like Beckham”; it didn’t knock my socks off, but I
had a great time hangin’ out with it.
Jess (Parminder Nagra) is a great soccer
player, and she worships Manchester United player David Beckham as
evidenced by the five trillion pictures of him on her bedroom
walls. One day while playing in a park with some friends, a girls
club player named Jules (Keira Knightley) notices Jess and asks her
to play on the team. So starts the adventure that takes us from
soccer to the Jess home life, as we get to meet her Sikh relatives
and their stranglehold on Jess’ social life; her parents’ dreams of
Jess becoming a proper, home-bound traditional Indian matriarch; the
family’s hope that Jess will end up with a “good Indian man” at some
point in her life. But, soccer beckons, especially as she wins the
respect--and, maybe a little more--of the girls club coach, Joe
(Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), and Jules and Jess fight for supremacy of
his attention. All of this, plus we get a glimpse of life in Jules’
household, and Jess’ sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi) is getting
married soon, so in the background it is “Monsoon Wedding 2” as
everyone is in fits trying to prep for the Sweet Honey Handoff.
But, through it all, director Gurinder
Chadha keeps it on course by letting us hang out with his
characters, and what a star he has in Nagra as Jess. She is not
visually arresting, but she holds the screen quite well and I loved
all of her scenes with the family, especially as she has to put up
with a mother that wants nothing more than to see Jess work out of
the kitchen the rest of her natural life. Like any ensemble
comedy-drama, the strength for a good consistent film lies in the
supporting characters. Even the extras are working hard here in
this film; I didn’t like
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” but its ensemble
was pretty strong, and “Bend It Like Beckham” seems to have some
similar traits to that, ahem, “other” film by throwing random funny
Indian people in the mix.
Love Indian people. Love pimped-out Indian
people in yellow suits. Love large Indian women throwing down for
the camera during the wedding dance numbers. Love watching Indian
dudes check out the action. Love hot Indian women. Love eating
Indian food, and scenes of Indian food being prepared, and scenes of
Indian people eating Indian food. Love that in every Indian movie I
have ever seen (maybe a half dozen), non-Indian suitors are looked
upon as the devil incarnate, yet Indian men are regularly dissed, as
in “Who wants to marry an Indian man, anyway?”
This movie isn’t legendary, but you’ll have
a good time. Plus, the soundtrack is hot (featuring not one, but
TWO Basement Jaxx songs--good work), good mix of soccer scenes and
family sequences, and Shaznay Lewis (I KNEW I recognized her--she’s
the chocolate portion of the group All Saints) as Mel was straight
foxy. I was a little uncomfortable with the Jess-Jules-Joe possible
love thing (how old are these characters supposed to be? Felt a
little dirty...) and the film is a bit long. But, all in all,
wha-wha-SPECIAL DELIVERY. Wha-wha-SPECIAL DELIVERY.
Sorry...sometimes, I lapse into rap verse.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard