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Bend It Like Beckham Review

By Shawn McKenzie 03/28/2003

Apparently while we here in America were experiencing the phenomenon last year known as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, England was experiencing another family comedy phenomenon called Bend It Like Beckham.  Now us lucky Yanks in the States will get to try it out, and if you can tolerate the thick accents, you will love it.


Jess Bhamra (Parminder K. Nagra) is an Indian girl living in London with her parents (Anupam Kher & Shaheen Khan) and older sister, Pinky (Archie Panjabi.)  She dreams of becoming a big soccer star like her idol, David Beckham.  She’s very good at soccer, but it doesn’t matter, because her conservative parents don't think it's right for her.  They want her to be more like her sister and find a nice Indian boy to marry and cook for (something Pinky will be doing herself in a few weeks.)  One day, a British girl named Jules Paxton (Keira Knightley) sees Jess playing in the park with her friends, including Tony (Ameet Chana), a boy her parents think is the perfect one for her to marry.  Jules plays for a local all-girls team and talks her coach, an Irishman named Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), into letting Jess try out for the team.  Jess isn’t the only one having problems with her parents.  Jules wants to play professionally in America, which is just fine with her dad, Alan (Frank Harper), but her mom, Paula (Juliet Stevenson), isn’t too hip on the idea, because she thinks that soccer is not feminine enough (as she says, “Just remember, there's a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one without a fellow!”)  As Jess and Jules become the two top players on the team, they become best friends.  This becomes a problem for a couple of reasons.  Since Jules is so tomboyish, yet close to Jess, Paula assumes her daughter is a lesbian, and Jess is her girlfriend.  One of her bits of proof is that she thinks she overhears a lover’s spat one afternoon between Jules and Jess.  In reality, they were both fighting over their affections for Joe, who himself seems to be falling for Jess.  With the conflict over Joe and the stress of having to deceive her parents in order to play soccer, Jess must decide whether to keep pursuing her dream or honor her parents’ wishes.


Some critics don’t like movies that are obviously “feel-good” movies, but I’m not one of them.  As long as they aren’t cheesy, I don’t mind feeling good watching a movie.  This movie obviously made a lot of people feel good in England.


I only had two small problems with the flick.  First, as I mentioned above, the accents are so thick that I was hoping for some subtitles.  Second, the whole “Three’s Company” gag (when a character overhears or sees a couple doing something that makes them assume that the couple is fooling around or gay) is so old that there is mold growing on it.

Bend It Like Beckham is cute little flick that I believe most everyone who enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding will like.  While the love story didn’t do much for me, the generational and cultural clashes were very interesting to watch.  If this movie happens to make it to your town, you should check it out.  Oh…did I mention that the soccer action in this movie is pretty cool too?

Get the soundtrack with songs by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Texas, Blondie, and Mel C (a.k.a. Sporty Spice), and David Beckham's wife, Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice):

Buy this album at

Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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