Rudo y Cursi. Curse words throughout the movie.

The embarrassing experience of watching a movie together with one of my students.

Rudo y Cursi movie poster.
Rudo y Cursi movie poster.

One of my students wanted me to watch the movie Rudo y Cursi together with him. He speaks Spanish very well, even better than many native speakers, but he wasn’t familiar with Mexican swearwords. That was the reason he couldn’t understand the movie the first time he saw it.

I had no idea what was in store for me. The task was embarrassing. There were many curse words that I needed to explain to my student. I couldn’t believe it at first.

I had to investigate who were the creators of this movie: None less than 3 future Best Director Oscar winners, Best Picture Oscar winners. Gael García, Diego Luna, Carlos Cuarón, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñarritú. Why did they write a movie with so much profanity?

To me, this means that all the curse words and fake regional accents have a well-planned purpose. They are making fun of people from the coast of Veracruz, who are famous for their foul language. They are mocking uneducated people in general. Both Rudo and Cursi, speak using very exaggerated accents. Rudo’s wife has the worst accent of all. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand without subtitles, and sometimes it seems that she even plays a mentally challenged woman. The Argentine actor Guillermo Francella is the easiest to understand because, unlike the other roles, he is using his own, authentic accent.

Since the movie title is Rudo y Cursi you might think of “Rude and Curse”. ¡Nada que ver! (not at all) Rudo in Spanish means rough or coarse, like a rough football player. Cursi is a difficult word to translate since there is no exact English equivalent. This is the Wordreference entry. In British English it means twee:

Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:

cursi adjetivo (fam) ‹objeto› corny, twee (BrE);
‹idea› sentimental, twee (BrE);
‹decoración› chichi;
‹persona› affected;

■ sustantivo masculino y femenino (fam): es un ~ he’s so affected o (BrE) twee

I know I have high school students reading this, so do not use these words!

Chingar is the XXX Mexican swear word they use the most, together with many of its variations. Many people prefer the less strong XX euphemism fregar which means to scrub; fregadero is the kitchen sink.

XXX XX meaning
chingar fregar to fxck
estar chingado estar fregado to be screwed
ser chingón ser fregón to be awesome, great
chingadazo fregadazo a hit, punch, beating
chingonería fregonería something witty, a good action towards a person or a situation.
chingadera fregadera something annoying, bothersome, a problem, a bad action towards someone
chíngate friégate fxck yourself


If you are Italian, your verb fregare is used sometimes in similar ways as fregar in Mexican Spanish, but not fregarsene though.


In this video you can listen to the two main actors’ actual, everyday Spanish:


Originally published on 20090818. Latest update 20210503  ( top

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