Goal! The Dream Begins

(2006) ** Pg
117 min. Touchstone Pictures. Director: Danny Cannon. Cast: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Anna Friel, Marcel Iures, Alessandro Nivola.
A serendipitious domestic release date transforms the soccer melodrama Goal! The Dream Begins into a music-video-superficial rebuke to immigration hysteria. After all, illegal or not, who would oppose a hottie soccer star pursuing his dream? Mexican soap star Kuno Becker plays Santiago Munez. At the Chinese restaurant that's his second job, Santiago tells his boss, "I'm American, you're American." But when Stephen Dillane's English football scout encourages him, Santiago shoves his busboy and gardening jobs. Santiago's little brother and grandmother are thrilled, but his bitter, bull-headed father makes every effort to stop his son's pursuit of "a stupid dream" of playing professional soccer. Danny Cannon hasn't directed a feature film since 1998's I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, but he conjures impressive vistas from rainy old England, where Santiago works his way up the ranks of the Newcastle United football club. Cannon's film will be catnip for rabid soccer fans, who will ignore the obvious story and focus on the cleverly staged field action and cameos from the likes of David Beckham. All others can pass on Goal! The Dream Begins and make plans now to avoid its two upcoming sequels.
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