Taking as its theme the enmity between two groups of soccer fans, "Rivals" is a disappointing comedy from a helmer, Fernando Colomo, whose best work once helped define a Spanish generation.

Taking as its theme the enmity between two groups of soccer fans, “Rivals” is a disappointing comedy from a helmer, Fernando Colomo, whose best work once helped define a Spanish generation. Low-laff fare confuses eccentricity with humor, and its attempt to shoehorn in a message about how competitiveness is ruining contempo relationships is handled with a lack of aplomb atypical of Colomo. Pic fared decently at home on late June release but has faded fast, suggesting limited options offshore.

All style, no substance cava salesman Guillermo (Ernesto Alterio) is driving his unhappy son, Willy (Adrian Portugal), across Spain to play in the final of a kids’ soccer tournament between Madrid and Barcelona (Spain’s defining rivalry). He gets into a scrape after he loses his wallet. Conservative couple Maria (Maria Pujalte) and Carlos (Gonzalo de Castro) are traveling with supposed swingers Jorge (Jorge Sanz) and Maribel (Goya Toledo). Cue mirth in hotel. Pic moves unsteadily from setpiece to setpiece, and its pretensions to being contempo — there’s one decent running gag about a couple of gay soccer referees — are strangled at every turn by the deja vu treatment.

Rivals

Spain

Production

An On Pictures release of a Media Films, Fernando Colomo production, with participation of TVE, TV3. (International sales: Media Films, Barcelona.) Produced by Luis De Val Minguez, Beatriz De La Gandara. Directed by Fernando Colomo. Screenplay, Joaquin Oristrell, Ines Paris.

Crew

Camera (color), Jose Luis Alcaine; editors, Antonio Lara, Maria Lara; music, Juan Bardem; production designer, Noe Figueras; costume designer, Vicente Ruiz. Reviewed at Yelmo Cineplex Ideal, Madrid, June 30, 2008. Original title: Riveles. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Ernesto Alterio, Gonzalo de Castro, Santi Millan, Kira Miro, Juanjo Puigcorbe, Maria Pujalte, Jorge Sanz, Rosa Maria Sarda, Goya Toledo, Adrian Portugal.

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