In the first instalment, Kuno Becker's football prodigy Santiago Munes jinked from the streets of LA to Newcastle United. Now the big clubs have come calling – none bigger than Real Madrid. Whisked from Geordieland to glamour and galácticos, he must now face the temptations, fears, and family secrets standing between him and inevitable glory. A polished two-hour sportswear and lifestyle commercial, Goal 2 gives glimpses of the craziness atop the world of football, but somehow can't avoid feeling completely pointless.
The celluloid football is impressive – much of the time, you really can't see the joins – but the comebacks are so endlessly miraculous, the goals so universally amazing that any sporting drama swiftly evaporates. The drama away from the action is no better. Think Footballers' Wives engorged with interminable montages, the fun replaced by bloating, unearned sentimentality. When a plot – regarding Santiago's long-lost mother - does surface, it is hopelessly contrived and rutted with holes. Almost as distracting is the stunningly obvious, unit-shifting soundtrack. Real are touring Japan? Let's play 'Turning Japanese'! To another montage! A car chase enters the mix late on. It's a good one, but all you can think is "Really? A car chase? Were they that desperate?"
Becker is quiet but makes good, while Anna Friel does well with what she's given as the working-class girlfriend back home. Where the film does pick up – honourably excepting Rutger Hauer and Steve MacManaman's unlikely managerial duo – Alessandro Nivola is usually at the centre of it. As fading superstar Gavin Harris, Santiago's friend and rival, he generates likeability and some neat comic one-twos with Becker, that are miles from the surrounding FIFA-approved anaesthesia. Ultimately, this is relegation fodder from start to finish.
Goal 2: Living The Dream is released in UK cinemas on Friday 9th February 2007.