Although before the Scaloni era, the Argentine team had some ups and downs in the South American qualifiers, it is somewhat difficult to imagine it being left out of World Cup qualification. That kind of imaginary challenge that, obviously, borders on credibility, is the pillar under which it is protected “Robbery Worldl”, the new series that Star+ offers its users in Latin America.
In six episodes, this production directed by Gabriel Nicoli introduces us to Lucho Buenaventura (Joaquín Furriel), a single father who makes a tremendous economic effort to fulfill the dream of his youngest son Sebastián (Matías Luque) of taking him to the World Cup.
As a good representative of the middle class, Lucho is one more in the television sales company where he has worked for some years. Everyone in the company is happy for two reasons: the qualification boosted the sale of Smart TVs and, furthermore, it saved them from complying with the risky advertisement they did in the playoffs: “If Argentina does not qualify, your Smart TV will be free!” .
Electroshock, the store where Lucho works, houses not only his late-night boss, Andrés Ledesma (Diego De Paula), but also his closest circle. From his best friend Walter ‘Wally’ Castañeda (Benjamín Amadeo) to colleagues like Néstor Tacchini (Hugo Quiril), Darío Friedman (David Szechtman) or Moria San Román (Agustina Tremari).
The tranquility under which this trade moves, however, is altered when one night Frank Manila (Javier Gómez), a representative of the International Football Federation, appears on TV announcing the decision to reduce points to the Argentine team as punishment for extra-sports acts. By subtracting units, the ‘blue and white’ is automatically left out.
Leaving a two-time champion team out of the World Cup for reasons like this unleashes crises on three different levels. The first, at the ‘national’ level, presents us with an outraged people, capable of destroying their TV as a reaction to an injustice. Second, there is a crisis in Electroshock. The above mentioned ‘successful’ publicity boomerangs back to them. Finally, comes the -supposedly- central crisis, linked to the promise that Lucho made to his son.
“World Robbery” is not the first Argentine series launched recently by Star+. Two examples come to mind. First, “Los protectores”, in which three soccer ‘agents’ (Adrián Suar, Andrés Parra and Gustavo Bermúdez) risk their lives in pursuit of the success of their clients. It is a good comedy because, although it has football-business as its core, it is supported by the weight of its three protagonists, each one more incorrigible than the other. The second example is “El encargado”, in which Guillermo Francella plays a noble porter who, upon finding out that they are trying to fire him after 30 years of work, reveals his dark personality with the intention of twisting fate. This proposal stands out because the protagonist of it displays a series of interpretive skills that surprise us and even horrify us.
Comparatively, it is difficult to find strengths of this type in “World Robbery”. Lucho Buenaventura is a rare character. We don’t know if he suffers or is just dissatisfied with life. Nor can we deduce that his self-absorbed attitude is due to acting as a single father, since there are very few mentions of the absence of Sebastián’s mother. And when the neighbor across the street seems to look at him with different eyes, she reacts neither to accept nor to deny. Perhaps the most outstanding moments of the character played by Joaquín Furriel are when he shows his love for his daughter: the hug after revealing that “they will go to the World Cup together” or saying “I love you” through a walkie talkies after Sebastián confesses to being afraid of sleeping alone.
But Buenaventura is not alone. For better or for worse, if something has “world robbery” are a lot of secondary characters. Wally –who could probably have been exploited more- is not only the protagonist’s best friend, but also an accomplice in the plan to steal the World Cup to extort FIFA. The boss of the TV store is a kind of poorly done parody of the businessman who risks everything in every new business. Then comes Barbara, Wally’s girlfriend, a character who stands out for her cunning and realism, but about whom—as with all those mentioned in this paragraph—little or almost nothing is delved into. If these characters suffer from a minimum weight, the situation ends up lightening up with Moria Ran Román (the delivery girl who falls out of love and falls in love), Darío Friedman (the hacker who launches an opening joke and then doesn’t transcend anymore) and, worse still with Néstor Tacchini, an old TV figure who now carries televisions to survive.
If we think of “La casa de papel” (Netflix), a series in which a team was formed to rob the Banco de la Moneda of Spain, the first thing that comes to mind is the particular personalities of each ‘thief’. Tokyo, Nairobi, Berlin, Rio, Denver and company are located light years away from the ‘Dream Team’ that Lucho puts together for an equally complex purpose as that of the Spanish series: to steal (nothing more and nothing less than) the maximum trophy of the most popular sport.
The lightness of the treatment of the secondary characters in “World Robbery” has a break attempt with Frank Manila, the representative of the International Football Federation who must deal with the shock generated by the theft of the trophy. When the character played by the famous actor Javier Gómez is called by his daughter on the phone to tell him that she misses him and that she hopes to see him soon, she perceives an attempt to go beyond the mere portrait of the millionaire and unpopular leader. Unfortunately, moments like this do not abound.
Another visible weakness in this series has to do with its central theme. Is the Star+ series a moving statement of the father-son bond? Is it a portrait of a fanatical nation? Is it a lesson from the people to the powerful who run the show? Is it a portrait about friendship beyond everything? At times, “World Theft” veers so far around the bush that it seems to be everything and nothing at once. And although there are positive details such as the photograph, the excellent replica of the trophy, or the small allusions to a country that has always lived and felt football (the tribute to ‘Doctor’ Carlos Bilardo is endearing), the truth is that the final balance it is clearly unsatisfactory.
Director: Gabriel Nicoli
Cast: Joaquín Furriel, Benjamín Amadeo, Carla Quevedo and Javier Gómez.
Synopsis: After investing all his savings to travel with his son to the World Cup, Lucho sees how the Argentine team is disqualified due to a sanction in the playoffs stage. Lost for lost, he gathers his co-workers, a conspicuous group of losers on the verge of losing their jobs, and they decide to take “justice into their own hands.” The plan? Stealing the World Cup on his promotional tour of Argentina to try to rejoin the World Cup and thus save the illusion of his son and the honor of a country.
Duration: 6 episodes