Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
The Mean Girl Machine
There are movies which you watch when they first come out and you sort of get caught up in the tide of euphoria over them, the mass proclamation of how good a movie is but when you look back you begin to wonder why, the movie may not be bad but it didn't deserve the wave of praise it garnered. That is my feeling towards "Bend It Like Beckham" because I thought it was better than average on release but now just find it an entertaining culture clash comedy. It still makes me smile as much as groan especially when it comes to the cornier footballing scenes but it's still worth a watch.
Jesminder 'Jess' Kaur Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) loves two things; David Beckham and football and she is not bad when it comes to knocking the ball about with the boys in the park, something which Jules Paxton (Keira Knightley - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), who plays for a girl's football team notices. Having persuaded Jess to try out for the team they not only become friends but make each other better players. But trouble looms as not only are Jess's parents traditional and forbid her from playing football but Jess falls for the team's coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who Jules also fancies.
I love movies which are basically culture clashes as there is always plenty of good humour and "Bend it Like Beckham" is no different as it is awash with cultural humour. This ranges from young Asians acting all loud and tarty as they fit in to the London culture to Jess's family being very tradition. There is also a joke about one of Jess's friends being secretly gay and a lot of quirky characters including Jules's mum thinking she is a lesbian with Jess. It's not exactly original because culture clash isn't new but it is good fun.
But get beyond that and "Bend It Like Beckham" sort of becomes boring and cheesy as part of the movie focuses on the Jess, Jules and Joe triangle whilst the other part basically focussing on Jess sneaking out to play football. It's still entertaining but not brilliant or maybe not as brilliant as I remembered it because I do remember enjoying it first time I watched it. And to be honest "Bend It Like Beckham" is seriously corny and rivals "She's the Man" for some cheesy football scenes. Maybe those who are not bothered by football will be impressed by a girl doing a throw in by doing a flip but it is corny and cheesy like when one player rubs away flake blood from her leg to play on through the pain.
The thing which "Bend It Like Beckham" has is energy and whisks you along on this energy from Jess playing football to anyone and anything being made fun off. And at the centre of this is Parminder Nagra as Jess who is a ball of energy from start to finish throwing herself into playing the role of a footballer or a young girl having to deal with her traditional parents. Most people will remember the movie because it also starred Keira Knightley as Jules but it is Parminder Nagra who makes the movie fun, who plays it so right that we like Jess and are amused by her quirky family around her.
What this all boils down to is that "Bend It Like Beckham" is one of those movies which if you haven't watched in a while may not be as good as you remember it. It is still a lot of fun especially when it comes to the culture clash side of things but beyond that it is not as great as I remembered.
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