Fraternal love is put to the test in this mediocre sports drama.

With: Sergei Gorobchenko, Anton Pampushny, Vitali Khaev, Anna Ukolova, Alexei Shevchenkov, Lydia Matsova.

Fraternal love is put to the test in the mediocre sports drama “Minnesota,” which centers around two hockey-playing brothers living in the stix. Pic skates thinly over themes of ambition, sibling competitiveness and Russia’s love-hate relationship with the West, but has nothing especially profound to say about any of them. Presence of TV star Sergei Gorobchenko may help score receipts domestically, but offshore, pic will hit the wall.

A scout (Vitaly Khaev) offers Igor (Anton Pampushny), a promising hockey player for a provincial Russian team, the chance to play in the American league. But Igor doesn’t want to go to America without his elder brother, Mikhail (Gorobchenko), who’s all the family Igor has. Unfortunately, hothead Mikhail’s no great shakes on the ice, has a serious drinking problem and screws up every chance he gets. Screenplay by Alexander Mindadze (who explored theme of potential exile better in “Dreaming of Space”) keeps going in circles as the brothers argue, then bear-hug, then argue again for an interminable 98 minutes. Helming by Andrei Proshkin (“Soldier’s Decameron”) remains uninspired; tech credits have a made-for-TV glossiness.



Production: A Central Partnership Classic release of a Tan Film production in association with Central Partnership. (International sales: Central Partnership, Moscow.) Produced by Ruben Dishdishian, Aram Movsesian, Sergei Danielian. Executive producer, Dmitri Efremor. Directed by Andrei Proshkin. Screenplay, Alexander Mindadze.

Crew: Camera (color), Yuri Raysky; editor, Natalia Kucherenko; music, Mark Erman; production designer, Yuri Karasik; costume designer, Vladimir Nikiforov, Dmitri Andreev. Reviewed at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival (competing), June 11, 2009. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Sergei Gorobchenko, Anton Pampushny, Vitali Khaev, Anna Ukolova, Alexei Shevchenkov, Lydia Matsova.

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