Film review: Kicking It

Published: Thursday, Sept. 4 2008 3:14 p.m. MDT

When Hollywood decides to make a feature film out of the Homeless World Cup competition — and it surely will — hopefully the people who are involved will use "Kicking It" as the model.

This earnestly watchable soccer documentary has enough drama and enough action for several films. Any one of its subjects could have served as the sole focus of the movie as well.

And best of all, the film does speak — in its own unique way — about the potential for empowerment through organized sports teams and events, as well as the need for novel solutions to the homeless problem.

The film looks at the yearly competition, which features amateur soccer (or football) teams made up of homeless athletes.

Four dozen of these teams competed in the 2006 event in Cape Town, South Africa. Co-directors Susan Koch and Jeff Werner profile six individuals on these teams to follow throughout the process.

Perhaps the two most notable of these are Damien Farrell, a recovering heroin addict who's hoping to get a roster spot on the Irish team, and Alex Mwabi. He and his fellow Kenyans have a lot to live up to — the hopes and dreams of their entire impoverished village ride on their performances.

Koch and Werner don't just set things up as a public-relations promotion for the U.S. team. In fact, that team is shown losing its composure and having a meltdown at the most critical times during the tournament.

Colin Farrell — who is no relation to Damien — introduces the movie and narrates when needed. But the filmmakers let their subjects tell their own stories in their own words. That's one of this film's many refreshing bits.

"Kicking It" is not rated but would probably receive an R for some strong sexual profanity, drug references (narcotics and various pharmaceuticals), athletic violence (as well as footage of an execution), derogatory slurs and language (based on race, ethnic heritage and sexual preference), and some vulgar slang and references. Running time: 99 minutes.


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com

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