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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

"Next Goal Wins (2023) - Missed Shot at Greatness"

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Rating: ★★1/2☆☆(2.5/5 stars)

Released 11-17-2023

Watched 12-03-2023

Reviewed 12-04-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club

"I can honestly say it’s the worst bunch of players I’ve ever come across."

"Next Goal Wins," a sports comedy film based on the remarkable journey of the American Samoa soccer team, had the potential to be an inspiring and engaging underdog story. The film, drawing inspiration from the 2014 documentary with the same name, chronicles the efforts of coach Thomas Rongen as he attempts to revitalize the team for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers following their infamous 31-0 defeat to Australia in 2001.

While the premise is promising and the historical backdrop intriguing, the movie suffers from a lackluster execution. One of the film's main drawbacks is its slow start, which makes it challenging for the audience to remain engaged. Although it picks up momentum and eventually delivers a feel-good experience, the emotional connection with the characters, particularly the players, feels superficial. The movie misses several opportunities to delve deeper into the players' personal struggles and triumphs, leaving the audience with a sense of detachment from their journey.

Comparatively, the film falls short of capturing the essence of a great football (soccer) coaching movie, especially when contrasted with the success and charm of shows like "Ted Lasso." The heart and humor that could have made "Next Goal Wins" a standout in its genre seem diluted, and the storytelling lacks the depth and nuance necessary to elevate it beyond a mere recounting of events.

In essence, "Next Goal Wins" tells a great story but does so poorly. For viewers looking for a more compelling and emotionally resonant soccer-themed narrative, "Ted Lasso" is a preferable alternative. Despite its potential and the inspiring real-life story behind it, the film fails to deliver the impactful and memorable experience it promises.

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