Inherent to the roots of the so-called beautiful game are working-class fundamentals. Old footage of football in the United Kingdom shows it for the true beauty it was, the ninety minutes of suspended disbelief at sporting prowess. What it is now, according to The Soccer Football Movie, is a place for injured, nearly retired players to take down mutants voiced by parody musicians whose notable works include being beaten to death by Huey Lewis in an apt American Psycho parody and a wild-eyed chart-topping album entitled Mandatory Fun. Had The Soccer Football Movie combined the universal admiration of Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the worldwide appreciation for Weird Al Yankovic, they would have won, tremendously so. Like a World Cup but for movies. It was not to be.
Animation is the crucial defensive leak for such a failed mount. Foodfight! levels of woeful incompetency. Models and assets which clip, phase in and out or simply do not move. It smacks of laziness, but not of the hilarious type where glossing over finer details leads to sporadic howling. Mitch Schauer, a name that feels in touch or at least associated with Marvel comics’ cannon fodder (and is), helms the sinking ship of the S.S. The Soccer Football Movie. Not as catchy a title when strapped to the side of a vessel sinking under its own hubris and lack of understanding of the beautiful game. How this is a Netflix original though, is baffling. Name-value horrors are a major draw, then.
Because that is the only reason Netflix could have for buying a feature with Zlatan and Weird Al. Flamenco music as a football booted so hard by the Swedish international that it explodes into a fiery ball and rips through the net and is played out with not an ounce of reference to why or how such a scenario is funny. Instead, The Soccer Football Movie plays it agonisingly straight and removes the chance to laugh at an intricate and fundamental tension in football. It plays up the wrong moments. Fans in the stands left charred by the earthly remains of a ball booted by the powerful, blessed foot of Ibra are no match for the man himself. But he is no match for Weird Al, who spends most of this feature looking as though he has come down with a bad bout of food poisoning in the animated world.
Whether Zlatan and the accordion man have blood on their hands for this one is unknowable. Have they killed the prospect of family-oriented animation and sporting achievements in one fell swoop? Perhaps. Dignity is no match for money and money is no match for The Soccer Football Movie. Any amount of cash pushed into this paper shredder was too much. A dollar, a billion, anywhere in-between. Too much. Especially for not much at all. Barely creaking its way to an hour in length, skidding around like a Saturday morning cartoon they put on so early even the target audience is sleeping through it, only to catch, bleary-eyed and fearful, the last ten minutes where the My Bologna singer mutates into a surprisingly detailed Lovecraftian deity. What a trip, what a disaster.