In 10 Words or Less
Proof that bad teen movies are universal
I think I've seen worse films--in fact, I'm positive, because I wanted to see how this would end, unlike, say, Cool World. But I don't think I've seen a more confused film. What starts as a teen friendship film, like a sweet American Pie, becomes an unfunny, not-so-romantic comedy, before becoming the odd love child of a coming-of-age film and crap. Along the way, the characters change personalities with a frequency normally reserved for channel surfing.
Bo, nicknamed Beckham after the soccer superstar, is the best player on his youth team, and headed for the big time. His pal Mikkel plays goal and Jakob is his set-up man. They are best friends, sharing time on the soccer field and at summer cottages they break into to drink. But as happens to most guys, once money or women enter the picture, friends tend to fade away. So when Jakob gets jealous of Bo's potential and falls for a cute girl from school named Mathilde, it is the start of the end. That Bo falls in with a hip, older crowd doesn't help matters. And Mikkel...well, he's got a cute younger sister. That's about as important as his character gets.
When we first meet Jakob, he's pleasuring himself to porn and pictures of Helene, a busty girl from his school. This obsession with sex is Jakob's defining personality trait, one that disturbs his life at inopportune moments, like when dribbling downfield on a breakaway or sharing a romantic moment with Mathilde. This doesn't impress his father, who also serves as his team's coach. As Bo is the most talented on the team, Jakob's father's main concern is that his son will affect his star player. That sets up an opportunity to cause trouble, something Jakob does well.
This part of the story is just one of several plotlines that crop up in Kick 'N Rush's 96-minute run-time. I could spend a couple of paragraphs covering the various subplots in this film, including a somewhat inexplicable and somewhat disturbing one shared by Jakob and Mikkel's kid sister. But in the end, there are just two plots that are important, and neither really works. Jakob's friendship with his drinking buddies gets the short end of the stick, while his on-again, off-again love affair with the adorable Mathilde (played by a young Danish Denise Richards by the name of Marie Bach Hansen) is the sole focus of the majority of the film.
That wouldn't be so bad if their relationship was more believable. But instead the two teens bounce between the extremes of emotions and dating stages like a game of Pong on steroids. At one point, they go from kissing to fighting to loving to hate in a span of approximately 7 minutes. It's enough to give the viewer emotional whiplash. It also require way more screen time than it should, preventing the original plot from really going anywhere.
Ignoring a main plot, and adding too many subplots are bad enough sins, but barely resolving the only real plot you have is film blasphemy. The way the Mathilde/Jakob storyline is concluded had me literally stunned. The ending is so out of tune with the rest of the film that it feels as if someone sat on the remote, shutting off your TV. After sitting through all the silliness, it's a major disappointment.
On the plus side, thanks to this movie, I know about Katja Kean and Michael Jackson's connection to the meaning of soccer. So it wasn't a total waste of time.
A standard keepcase holds the one-disc release, with the usual four-page Home Vision insert, which includes a chapter-stop and an interview with the director. The DVD has a static full-frame main menu with the film's rocking theme song, preceded by a bit of animation. Options include playing the film, selecting scenes, viewing the trailer and setting up languages. The scene selection menu lists the titles of each scene, while language options include Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 Danish soundtracks and English subtitles, but no closed captioning.
Shot in a way that resembles the "Dogme 95" film ethic, the anamorphic widescreen image is excessively grainy, with wash-outs and an overall brown tint. Fine detail isn't too apparent, as anything not shot in close-up ends up soft. Whether it was the filmmaker or the transfer, this film looks in worse shape than its age, with plenty of dirt in the transfer.
The audio is presented in Danish, in either a 2.0 or Dolby 5.1 track. The surround speakers get a bit of work during the film, especially during scenes with a heavy musical backdrop. The mix isn't one of the most defined I've heard in recent memory, with the dialogue, at times, getting buried under the soundtrack. Perhaps it my lack of affinity with the Danish tongue.
The only extra included on this DVD is the film's theatrical trailer, which is presented in letterboxed widescreen. The trailer presents a different concept than the final film, including a final sting that doesn't make sense to me. Must be a culture clash.
The Bottom Line
At the heart of this film is a pretty decent teen triple-cross story, but with the amount of focus placed on the Jakob/Mathilde relationship, the friendship takes a back seat. Way back. Part of the problem lies in the lack of believable motivation among the main characters, as well as main characters that do very little to make you care about them. The DVD provides next to nothing in terms of extras, and the presentation is simply OK. This is a rental for those of you jonesing for a Danish soccer film, and a skip for the other 99.9% of the population.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.