Cultures clash in Bend it Like Beckham, a British film that in theme bears resemblance to last year's major hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Just like Greek Wedding, Bend it Like Beckham has stuck around for over two months, and for good reason. There is no doubt that this movie will be considered one of the best comedies of 2003.
Bend it Like Beckham, as the title suggests, is technically about soccer (David Beckham is a major soccer player who was just traded to the Real Madrid). Parminder K. Nagra is Jesminder, an Indian-British teenager who just happens to be exceptionally good at soccer. She is enlisted by Juliette (Keira Knightley, who has a big role in the upcoming The Pirates of the Caribbean) to join the nearest thing to a professional women's soccer team in Europe. Jes is thrilled and immediately begins to show off her talent (in hopes of being picked up by an American agent), but quickly realizes that she has to keep the team secret from her conservative Indian parents. With her older sister getting married, there is a lot of pressure on Jes to just settle down with a nice Indian man and make meals for the family. Of course, this causes lots of drama, comedy and chaos.
While it perhaps isn't fair to compare Beckham to Greek Wedding for the mere fact that Greek Wedding is much goofier and laid back, in this case, it can only be considered a compliment to Beckham. Beckham, in nearly every way, rivals Greek Wedding, though for different reasons. At times, Beckham is a little bit more serious, but it is also more realistic. Luckily, both Beckham and Greek Wedding share an important attribute: they are both hilarious.
Bend it Like Beckham is laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. Graced with good acting, especially from Nagra, and a great script, Beckham has everything that a first-rate movie needs. Just like in Greek Wedding, the movie thrives off of the parents; yes, perhaps they are a bit to possessive of their culture at times, but they are still caring, loving and best of all, hilarious. The mother (Shaheen Khan) is stupendous, as is the father (Anupam Kher), who is a good representative of mixed cultures; he has his conservative Indian side, but he is just like most fathers in the world (he is lenient and likes to bend the rules).
As expected of an A-class movie, there are very few flaws, if any, about the movie. Bend it Like Beckham is a well done film that's only flaw was its marketing campaign; Fox didn't do a good enough job of promoting it, and the previews they showed were lackluster to say the best.
Bend it Like Beckham is a movie that people of all ages should see. It is one of the funniest movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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