I am mystified that the Spanish media was mostly critical of Que baje Dios y lo vea (Holy Goalie), faulting it as clichéd and unimaginative, with actors in roles not much different from what they portray on popular TV shows. One writer even complained that there were too many jokes. Does Spain have the best television comedy in the world, so that this film pales in comparison?
From my viewpoint, Holy Goalie is one of the best soccer comedies I’ve seen. First time Director Curry Velázquez offers up a cute theme and fresh ingredients to the classic underdog tale. A monastery is set to be closed down so that it can be turned into a trendy hotel. The arrival of Salvador (Alain Hernández) a modern and unorthodox priest, inspires hope within the cloistered young novitiates.
Salvador believes soccer can save their monastery if they can win la Champions Clerum in Vatican City. He reasons that the monastery cannot be shut down if it holds the Championship. Of course, it is a mission that requires strong belief and a little external recruiting, because none of the young men know how to play football.
The idea for the comedy originated from the Clericus Cup, a competitive annual tournament in Rome, played by students and priests representing 16 seminaries from around the world.
After reading the Spanish reviews, I wondered if the real opposition to the film was unspoken. The somewhat secular, almost American, sense of humor in this film is similar to Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act”. Perhaps Holy Goalie is innately offensive in Spain, because it unfavorably parodies the Catholic Church.
The monastery’s simple Prior (Karra Elejalde as Father Munilla) and novitiate monks do not serve the people, in fact other than bake excellent pastries, they don’t seem to have much to do at all. Once outside the walls of the monastery, the innocent novitiates are tempted by the excesses of Roman night life. On the bureaucratic side of the church, the Bishop and the Cardinal corruptly try to fix the match. The real man of God is rebel priest Salvador, who solves problems by hacking the Vatican Bank for funds.
The soccer of course will not inspire anyone, but the field equipment and uniforms are worth a laugh. The monks initially play in their robes, the goal is built of tree limbs, and the chalk lines on the pitch are anything but straight.
9 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9