Football Days Review
Antonio (Ernesto Alterio) is just out of prison. Enthused by anger-management therapy sessions, he decides to become a psychiatrist. When his sister Violeta (Natalia Verbeke) dumps Jorge (Alberto San Juan), Antonio decides that the best way of cheering everyone up would be to start a seven-a-side football team. The name? Brazil. The objective? Winning the league. The results? Disastrous.
Football Days (Días de Fútbol) was a big hit in its native Spain, and was nominated for five Goya Awards, with Fernando Tejero winning for Best New Actor. It’s a broad, and not especially elevated, comedy and manages to avoid crassness. Despite the title, it’s not really a sports movie, more a comedy about a group of men going through mid-life crises. Along the way, there’s a lot of (subtitled) swearing and sex jokes, not to mention a fair measure of slapstick.
There’s not a great deal of difference between this and many R-rated mainstream comedies, though Football Days manages to avoid the worst excesses of Hollywood crassness – and it’s not just because this is a foreign-language film you’re watching in an arthouse rather than with a Friday-night crowd in a multiplex. However, and this may be a case of humour not travelling well across national boundaries – or quite possibly some lack in my sense of it – but ultimately Football Days seems unremarkable. It also obeys the rule of thumb that mainstream comedies are overlong by the amount their running time exceeds ninety minutes.