|Bend it Like Beckham (2003)
Starring: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley
Director: Gurinder Chada
It's been a while since a soccer film was released for American fans to go and see, but with the extended release of the surprise hit "Bend It Like Beckham," soccer fans can now enjoy a great film featuring some good solid soccer action.
Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is the youngest daughter of a traditional Indian family living in London. Jess' parents could only hope for a "normal" daughter, one interested in marriage, an education and the knowledge to cook good Indian food, but unfortunately, this isn't what Jess has in mind. Instead, she spends her days playing soccer in the park and talking to her giant poster of Britain soccer superstar, David Beckham.
While playing soccer one day with her guy friends, Jess is spotted by Jules (Keira Knightley), a member of a woman's soccer team who recruits Jess to play for the team behind her parent's backs. Enter Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), a washed-up player whose career ended prematurely due to a knee injury. Joe coaches the women's team now and takes both Jules and Jess under his wing for a chance to go pro in America, but when the two girls clash because of a crush on their coach, Jess' friendship and her chance for greatness are tested.
"Beckham," already a major box-office smash in Britain, is beginning to make a name for itself in the US as well. It's the kind of film you've seen countless times before, but director Gurinder Chada makes it fresh enough and appealing to everyone that it's easy to enjoy. Nagra and Knightley also contribute solid performances in both of their first major roles. The film has some great soccer action, on-target comedy and the small movie, big comedy feel that last year's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" brought to the theaters.