A too-rare example of a made-for-kids movie from a territory that's guilty of cinematic child neglect, "Carlitos and the Field of Dreams" is high-energy, wholesome entertainment at its most polished and most formulaic.

A too-rare example of a made-for-kids movie from a territory that’s guilty of cinematic child neglect, “Carlitos and the Field of Dreams” is high-energy, wholesome entertainment at its most polished and most formulaic. Story of an orphan who gets a shot at playing for the national soccer team says it all regarding plot and aspirational message, but debut helmer Jesus del Cerro juggles the material with craft. Spanish-speaking territories should snap it up, though late August release has failed to galvanize Spain’s summer auds.

Soccer-mad Carlitos (Guillermo Campra), along with sidekicks Trampa (David Becerra) and Seta (Inigo Navares), is being raised at a Dickensian-type orphanage run by pompous, small-minded Hipolito (Jose Maria Pou). Carlitos’ talent for soccer is encouraged by Diego (Gustavo Salmeron), but when Carlitos is selected for the national team, Hipolito refuses to let him participate. Plot stays just on the right side of schmaltz as it presses home its timeless message about how to do the right thing. (Judging by teenies’ reaction during screening caught, setpieces ring all the right bells.) Seasoned thesp Pou is memorably over-the-top. Lively rock-pop songs contribute a bit of edge.

Carlitos and the Field of Dreams

Spain

Production

A Hispano Foxfilm release of an Antena 3, Versatil production. (International sales: Imagina Intl. Sales, Madrid.) Executive producers, Emilio Aragon, Tedy Villalba, Santiago de la Rica. Directed by Jesus del Cerro. Screenplay, Manuel Feijoo, Beatriz G. Cruz, Rafael Sarro.

Crew

Camera (color), Adolfo Hernandez; editor, Juan Carlos Jimenez Sanavia, "Charly"; music, Emilio Aragon. Reviewed at Palacio de la Prensa, Madrid, Sept. 1, 2008. Original title: Carlitos y el campo de los suenos. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Gustavo Salmeron, Irene Visedo, Jose Maria Pou, Guillermo Campra, David Becerra, Vicente Diez, Inigo Navares, Alejandra Lorenzo, Jennifer Manzano, Miliki.
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