Novice helmer Diego Olivares achieves mixed results in “The Wild Boars of Portici,” a mild take on the hoary metaphor of sports as a means toward self-improvement. Set in a detention home for young drug offenders on the outskirts of the Neapolitan coastal town of Portici, drama of hoods learning rugby is underdeveloped, but good ensemble work propels it forward. A slight entry in the genre, this won’t win many points in off-shore markets.
Former rugby champion Ciro (Ninni Bruschetta) is in charge of activities for the inmates at the detention home. He resolves to coach the motley group, although none have seen a rugby ball before. Getting them to trust one another proves elusive, but Ciro manages to pull them into a winning team called the Wild Boars. There’s the usual tough guy banter and the expected pre-game pep talk, but little excitement is generated by the games themselves. The one female inmate (Antonia Truppo) is a cipher throughout, and the multiple narrators lead to confusion. Handsome lensing and good camerawork keep the score on the plus side.