Success is all about doing the right things at the right time. It probably is skewed towards the time part of it. There's no other way one could explain how Bend It Like Beckham has been making waves. It cashes on heavily on the all-pervading soccer mania without which it would've vanished in a puff without making even a ripple.
The story line is as simple as a pair of tongs. It's as old as well - just that it's phoren maal, and hence all the mirth and excitement. Jaspinder (Jess, played by Parminder K Nagra), born into a middle class Indian family in England, inherits the "ride the wave of popular sport" rogue gene from her dad who in his heyday wanted to ride the cricket wave. Like any sensible and worldly-wise Indian would realize, it's the soccer players who are deified - The English don't care a darn about cricket any longer and we needn't pride beating them. It is precisely this sense that makes her happier kicking the ball around rather than hitting it around.
On a particularly good day, Jess is seen kicking the ball around by a particular girl Jules who, after seeing Jess play, is very particular about she taking a crack at the soccer team - the English team to be particular. Without her parents getting to know of it, Jess makes it to the team, and gushes ahead to take up the forward position along with Jules. Just when she's supposed to play in Germany, her parents get a whiff of it and are terribly upset about her running around half-naked in front of a thousand men. They can't flag her spirits, though, and she makes it through to Germany. Jess and Jules share perfect chemistry on field and lead their team up to the finals. Unfortunately, Jess fails to convert a penalty and this results in her team's failure. Just as the situation reaches rock bottom, her parents have already started digging. They resolve not to allow her play again.
But despite all the odds against her, Jess gets even both with the game and its coach Joe. This only means that one more round of yelling and swearing is all that is forthcoming. It continues for a while before the movie wraps up in as predictable a way as a normal non-self-respecting movie.
Almost all the characters are well-etched with nobody seeming out of place or redundant. Jaspinder sports her role well as she glides effortlessly between playfield and battlefield (read home). She shows great promise as an actress, if not as a footballer.
Speaking honestly, it could have been quite a good movie with a good theme, but what pisses you off is the sprinkling of awfully vile humor all through. The general mood and the pitch of movie are that of a television serial and that's what it all it boils down to. The worst part is you can't even change the channel.