Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Bend it Like Beckham (2002)

Teenager Jess (Nagra) doesn't want to end up as a boring solicitor. She wants to play football like her hero, David Beckham. But being a girl, her chances are limited to having a kick about in the local park and, being an Asian girl, her family don't even agree with her doing that. As her mum says: "Who'd want a girl who plays football all day but can't make chapattis?".

If they knew she was playing with the Hounslow Harriers women's team, they'd have a collective fit.

Following on from the success of her earlier comedies "Bhaji on the Beach" and "What's Cooking?", Gurinder Chadha turns this British-Asian film about a clash between traditional values and the modern world into a fantastic feelgood movie. Chock full of wonderful characters - Jess' long-suffering mother, her promiscuous sister, and her fellow teammates - "Beckham" is a real crowd-pleaser.

Although it's set up as an Asian comedy in the "East is East" mould, it's also a great football movie, with some hilariously surreal on-pitch moments (readying herself for a vital free-kick, Jess watches aghast as the wall of defenders transforms into a line of sari-wearing relatives, all desperately trying to put her off).

It's sweet without ever becoming schmaltzy and finishes by successfully tying up every loose end. The only fault is it runs on too long; if the ref had blown her whistle earlier, it would have been absolutely perfect.

But since it's the kind of film that'll have the whole audience clapping by the time the credit sequence outtakes appear, it's easy to forgive that minor fault.

Mr Beckham ought to be proud to have his name on such a great film.

End Credits

Director: Gurinder Chadha

Writer: Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, Guljit Bindra

Stars: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kulvinder Ghir, Shaznay Lewis, Juliet Stevenson

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Length: 112 minutes

Cinema: 12 April 2002

Country: UK

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