Sundance Film Festival

RUDO Y CURSI reunites Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna

RUDO Y CURSI
RUDO Y CURSI, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna

I was licking my chops as I headed into the premiere of Rudo y Cursi–reuniting Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. And so was the rest of the audience. What talent! This is the very first venture from Cha Cha Cha, the production company formed by Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

As Alfonso Cuaron appeared with his brother Carlos (who wrote and directed the film), the crowd applauded lustily. “It feels really warm and cozy to be here,” Carlos said. Del Toro said Y TU MAMA was “a horny teenage road comedy,” but RUDO Y CURSI is “a bittersweet meditation about what we are as a country and as human beings.”

It started out sweet: two impoverished brothers, both gifted soccer players, whose rivalry is inflamed even as they see a way out of their low-wage jobs on a banana ranch. But somewhere in the middle of the film, the air seemed to go out of it.

RUDO Y CURSI seems to be one of many instances in which dazzling elements are hampered by points that are hammered home repeatedly, leading to a film that is simply too long. One example: I got that Rudo had a gambling problem while we were still on the banana ranch. I got it again when he went to a cockfight and again when he went to a horserace and again when he went to a club for high rollers. If such points had been made with a lighter touch, the film wouldn’t have grown too heavy for its plotline. As it was, it went on for 103 minutes. Everyone needs an editor but auteurs seem to be convinced otherwise.

Now it’s easy for me to talk; I’m not even a critic much less a filmmaker. But I swear, with a sharpie and half an hour, I think even I could make this a tighter, stronger film.

Maybe I should have skipped RUDO Y CURSI and gone to PETER AND VANDY instead. Graham Taylor of Endeavor Independent, who’s selling it, tells me that Jay DiPietro’s film about a New York couple (Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler) will be one of gems discovered at the Festival. And it’s only 85 minutes long!