Many of the customer reviews of the film Golden Shoes are brutal, but IMHO this is a fairly good kids soccer movie. It is a Cinderella story, and most of the acting holds your attention.
Christian wants to be a world class player but can’t get any game or even practice time with his U10 team. To add to his troubles, his mother has a lengthy hospitalization, and his father goes MIA in Afghanistan.
So he moves in with his mean neighbor (Eric Roberts), who is also the Team Dad, but who also keeps telling the coach to keep Christian on the bench. Still, he takes Christian to the store for soccer cleats, which magically help him play like Cristiano Ronaldo. The boy then wins the attention of scouts, the media, and even POTUS.
Pluses and minuses of ‘Golden Shoes’
Of course, there are valid reasons for customers’ criticism of this film. A sodden-looking Eric Roberts is over-the-top as Bad Neighbor. His non-stop over-acting and bullying are the worst parts of the movie. Christian is played by then 8-9 year old Christian Koza, who is the son of Writer-Producer Norman Koza but is no Macaulay Culkin (maybe that’s a good thing).
Director Lance Kawas offsets these distracting performances with good portrayals from the rest of the cast, which includes David DeLuise (as the kind of coach you’d like to see on the field), Dina Meyer (mom), John Rhys-Davies (good neighbor), and Viveca Fox (mom’s hospital nurse).
There are a few small inconsistencies in the film, probably because they didn’t think things through or couldn’t afford to correct them. Like Mom barely reacting when her son breaks a window doing a chilena (bicycle kick) in the house. And bad neighbor never lets the boy talk to nor visit Mom in the hospital. But still this is a good family movie.
I can always tell when a real soccer enthusiast is making a soccer movie. The soccer footage is more authentic and there is a lot more of it.
It was interesting to note that in 2012, Producer Koza got Michigan to award the project an “incentive of $362,204 on $1,140,737 of projected in-state expenditures”, equivalent to 9 full-time jobs. The film was shot in the fall of 2012 but then took 3 years to have its local premiere. The production values are pretty good.
This is John Rhys-Davies’ second soccer movie (the other being The Game of Their Lives).
6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6