Amadeo (Rupert Grint) has two loves in his life; foosball, and Laura (Eve Ponsonby). He’s skilled in the former – boasting an unbeaten record on the table in the local bar. As for the latter, well, he’s working on it. However when professional footballer and former foe Flash (Anthony Head) returns to his hometown, the abject competitor, who Amadeo once defeated, wants revenge, and so demolishes the foosball table, and sets off with Laura. Amadeo is not on his own though – as his table football team of champions come to life, with players such as Loco (Peter Serafinowicz), Rico (Rob Brydon) and Skip (Ralf Little), determined to repay the favour and help their manager win back all that is dear to him.
The premise is simplistic, and yet so magical, in what is effectively a traditional story of the underdog. Campanella seems comfortable within the genre, and is affectionately faithful to the archetypal tropes that come with it, as the entire picture builds towards a big game at the end – where the winner takes all. The animation style is unique too, and while the 3D isn’t completely necessary – dimming an otherwise vibrant aesthetic somewhat – the attention to detail on the figurines is remarkable.
There’s a brilliantly surrealistic edge to the comedic aspect of the piece, with a variety of inane, yet hilarious gags, most of which come from the absurd supporting characters. Though a good script still requires a deft execution, and that’s a given where comedians such as Serefinowicz and Brydon are concerned. Ramos also does a fine job as the detestable antagonist, who seems to be based, indirectly, on a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, becoming as much of a pantomime villain that footballers ultimately are when out on the pitch.
On a more negative note, and it’s not anyone’s fault in particularly, but the dubbing is somewhat distracting, as it’s a little out of sync, in how the English voice doesn’t quite seem naturally in tune with the animation, as this was originally designed for a Spanish speaking audience. But you can’t subtitle a film aimed at a younger demographic, so this is an inevitable price you have to pay in making this available and accessible to an English speaking crowd – and this film is undoubtedly accomplished enough to warrant such a wide release.