Out of boredom and an appetite for soccer (and spurred on by recent Beckham-onium*), I watched Bend It Like Beckham yesterday. I had tried to watch it once before but it had not held my attention, and I figured I might be more successful this time. I was right, unfortunately.
This wasn’t the worst movie I had ever seen. Many know of my renowned ability to sniff out the crappiest horror films available at movie rental stores and turn them into a wasted two hour adventure. Still, this movie was disappointing for many reasons. First and foremost, it was definitely a chick flick. That’s all right, because some chick flicks can be entertaining (for example, see Aliens, #14 on the list of “50 Greatest Chick Flicks”). My reasoning was that any chick flick with a hot Indian girl and Keira Knightley couldn’t fail.
And it didn’t fail, entirely. Keira was hot, as usual, but her role could have been larger (I had assumed she’d be the main character – not so). One of the most frustrating aspects of the film was the filming of the soccer scenes. They were all done with extreme closeups, often so only the very tops of the players could be seen. Undoubtedly this made the actresses have to learn less foot-skills, but it detracted from the authenticity of the scenes. In fact, the only prolonged soccer sequences which were depicted with television-style camera angles came at the very beginning in footage from a Manchester United game. No more Beckham play is seen throughout the film, which also bugged me. The mention of “bending it like Beckham” occurred twice, but Beckham only showed up in the opening television footage and once more walking in the airport at the end, donning a classy suit.
Since it’s a British film, I suppose the thick accents and obscure slang were not out of line, but at times I almost wished they would have included subtitles to help those of us who do not use the term “bollocks” in our vernacular. The accent was particularly becoming on Keira though, so no complaints there.
All this to say, I guess I just wanted more real soccer and less whining about relationships. I wouldn’t have even minded a few more cat-fights, as those can be quite entertaining when performed by the right chicks. Overall, I was OK because I didn’t intend to watch a movie like this for its story or acting (although now that I think about it, it did focus too much on the empowerment of women). Keira just wore some fairly short shorts.
I wonder how much Beckham got paid for the right to use his name..?
* “Beckham-onium” – n. Pandemonium in response to David Beckham’s general presence. You heard it coined here first.