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Arts & Culture

Romeo and Juliet Get Married (O Casamento de Romeu e Julieta)

Barretos film offers yet another retelling of Shakespeares famous tale of star-crossed lovers. Barretos take on the Bards tragedy gives it a comic twist. Instead of feuding families whose hatred leads to violence and death, Barreto serves up two families with opposing soccer team loyalties in soccer-mad Brazil.

Alfredo Baragatti, the son of Italians, is a lifelong Palmeiras fan as well as a member of the Board of the Palmeiras Soccer Club. When he has a daughter, he raises her to be a soccer fan as well. Her nameJulietis not an homage to Shakespeares heroine but rather to her fathers two soccer idols. Daddy combined the names of his two favorite Palmeiras players to get the name Juliet: from Julinho he took the Juli and from Echevarietta, the et. But Juliet (Luana Piovani) is no mere fan of the game. Shes a female soccer player who wants to play professionally. But she finds that Brazilians havent quite warmed up to the idea of women playing professional soccer.

By chance, Juliet ends up in the office of Romeo (Marco Ricca), a 45 year-old eye doctor, and falls in love with him. He claims to be a Palmeiras fan but in actuality hes a die-hard fan of the Corinthians, the Palmeiras chief rival. But Romeo does some quick research and puts up a false front pretending to be "Palmeirense" in order to win Juliets favor and then to win over her father. The charade, however, proves a bit difficult to maintain because he runs the risk of alienating his own family of rabid Corinthian fans, especially his grandmother Nenzica (Berta Zemmel).

Romeo and Juliet Get Married delivers pretty much what youd expect from the mix of soccer and Shakespeare. The soccer twist on the classic tragedy results in pleasingly predictable comic shenanigans as Romeo is forced into more and more difficult situations as he tries to maintain his lies. Barreto has a warm, appealing touch and he has a cast of likeable stars who win us over. There are some very funny scenes as when Romeos lust is deflated by the fact that Juliet sits fetchingly atop her Palmeiras bedspread. Then Romeo takes every comment after that sexual failure personally, whether its a nurse asking why hes so down or a colleague asking whats up. Suddenly Romeo thinks the whole world knows his problem.

Romeo and Juliet Get Married (in Portegeuse with English subtitles, and unrated but parental guidance recommended) taps in nicely to Brazils twin passions for soccer and romance. Barreto delivers a lightweight comedy that entertains and engages.

Companion viewing: West Side Story, William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet, Franco Zefirrellis Romeo and Juliet, Bend it Like Beckham

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