NEXT GOAL WINS – A Review by John Strange
Next Goal Wins is based on the disastrous qualifying game for the 2002 FIFA World Cup that saw the American Samoa soccer team destroyed by the Australian team 31-0. Iain Morris and Taika Waititi wrote the screenplay for the film from the documentary about the game.
The film opens with Taika explaining the story. (It seems he has decided he likes placing himself in his films, ala Alfred Hitchcock.) The basic storyline is an island nation that has possibly the worst soccer team in the world. They are determined to make it into the FIFA world games one day, but first, they just want to score one goal. One.
On the other side of the world, the powers-that-be give out-of-control coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) one last chance to coach. But only if he takes the job in American Samoa.
This is a film that reminded me a lot of 1993’s Cool Runnings. But not as funny. The story has some humorous scenes but too many are just painful. Most painful of all are any with Will Arnett in them. They just seemed forced.
I wanted to love this film, but it just didn’t happen. The human interactions rarely seemed realistic, particularly the humorous attempts by the supporting characters. This film felt like a bad, overly long, comedy sketch to me.
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, Davis Fane, Rachel House, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefu, Semu Filipo, Lehi Falepapalangi, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some strong language and crude material)
Selig Rating: 2.5 Stars
Runtime: 103 Min.
Release Date: 11/17/2023
Movie Site: NEXT GOAL WINS Official Site
Trailer: NEXT GOAL WINS Official Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.