Daft but enjoyable, Goal! is the rags to riches tale of Latino Los Angelino Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker), who rises from the streets of the city of angels to get a shot at glory playing Premiership football for Newcastle United. It's a Roy Of The Rovers-style fantasy that stumbles when it strains for real emotion. It's also terribly predictable and episodic but boasts a good sense of humour and a cracking performance from Alessandro Nivola as a hard-partying striker on the slide.
Nivola steals the film from Becker, who has more screen time but less charisma and a character who's a bit of a dewy-eyed whiner, hamstrung by his stupidity. There are only so many times you can watch someone given "one last chance" before your attention begins to wander. And it's the nature of the beast that Goal! can only really have one conclusion - particularly given the makers plan a part two where Munez is transferred to Real Madrid and a part three where he stars in the World Cup (the only real question is whether he plays for his country of birth, Mexico, or where he grew up, America).
"HARDLY A WINNER"
The football pieces together footage from real Premiership matches with okay inserts of Becker in action (and much less convincing goal celebrations, glaringly missing the real footballers, like Alan Shearer, who are shown to be playing). Off the pitch there's lots of head-shaking over the perils of fame and the trouble of acclimatising to Tyneside, some nice gags ("How old do you have to be to drink here?" Becker asks a Scouse trainee, who shoots back: "11!") and cameos from Beckham, Zidane and Raul. Hardly a winner, but far from a bore draw.