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Overall Rating
2

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad66.67%
Total Crap: 22.22%

1 review, 3 user ratings


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Eddie the Eagle
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by Jay Seaver

"Doesn't triumph, but doesn't entirely embarrass itself."
2 stars

This film starts with the customary "based upon a true story" text, although a few minutes on the Internet indicates that while, yes, a British skier by the name of Harry "Eddie" Edwards did compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics in the ski-jumping events, most of the story leading up to that in the movie is, shall we say, embellished. I almost wish they'd embellished it more; "Eddie the Eagle"is a smooth but rote Inspirational Sports Story, and a version that is either barbed but true-to-life or more absurdly exaggerated would certainly have been more interesting.

In this one, Eddie starts out in a leg brace but still dreams of not just being an athlete but an Olympian, although he doesn't discover what he feels is his true calling until a skiing center is built nearby. He grows to become one of Britain's top skiers, but is rejected from the 1984 team as much for his working-class background as anything else. Eddie (Taron Egerton) has barely been working with his plasterer father for days before he hits upon a new plan - become a ski-jumper, which Britain hasn't had for decades. To that end, he heads to a German training camp, trying to learn by trial and error until alcoholic groundsman Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a disgraced former member of the American team, agrees to help the British kid train before he gets killed.

Do people still think of the Olympics as a laudable goal and institution in and of itself, rather than just the highest and most visible level of composition for certain sports surrounded by a whole mess of corruption (and, especially in America, shredded into bland TV programming)? That is certainly the impression I get of the Games, with this film's "by amateurs, we mean gentlemen" visible on the margins. I ask, because the Olympics themselves being the goal is at the core of why Eddie the Eagle often seems somewhat hollow - Eddie's goal isn't actually to achieve greatness in any particular area, or to crash the party of the upper classes that have been keeping the likes of him down. It is, basically, to get on TV, and the film seldom confronts that; the nobility of chasing any dream rather than getting into the boring but practical family business is taken as a given, and it makes the signature moment that gives the film its title kind of muddled: Is just being there because you were able to find a way past the gatekeepers what we should cheer for in a sports movie, or does that undercut the ideals that made Eddie want to be an Olympian? It's a contradiction that the film never truly addresses.

It's strange that writers Simon Kelton & Sean Macaulay and director Dexter Fletcher don't zero in on one of the more classic, obviously uplifting themes considering how much they reconfigure the events to make this an exaggerated underdog story: That Eddie was apparently a fair skier before changing sports is only given brief mention but never shown, and to say that Bronson is invented out of whole cloth understates just how utterly standard this character's situation and history are. Even the ski-jumping sequences often try to prop themselves up with TV-style graphics to bring actual sports coverage to mind, although Fletcher does occasionally manage to communicate what a visceral thrill jumping must be. The soundtrack has an enjoyably 1980s feel, from some very on-the-nose songs to the synth-y score, which only gets more so when Eddie arrives in Germany.

As muddled and full of questionable decisions as the movie night be - it's not exactly surprising that it was in development for a long time with a number of different approaches tried - it goes down well enough in large part because the cast, at least, knows what their characters need. Taron Egerton thankfully finds the likable underdog in Eddie even when the character's actions can be described as persistence enabled by a dangerous lack of awareness, and is likely the main reason why one might not be rooting for this idiot to break his neck. Hugh Jackman dives right into the sarcastic, doubtful coach, and unlike many, he retains that tart energy even after Bronson has found himself somewhat inspired to be a better person. Much of the rest of the cast - Jo Hartley & Keith Allen as the parents with opposing views on Eddie chasing this dream, Iris Bergen as the cafeteria operator who lets Eddie crash in the back, Jim Broadbent as a television commentator, and Tim McInerny as a British Olympic official so full of unearned snobbery as to seem like one of Michael Palin's Monty Python characters - are playing stock characters with just enough enthusiasm that wind up being comfortably familiar rather than outright lazy, and that helps a lot more than you might expect.

It's enough to make "Eddie the Eagle" successful enough at hitting its target: A familiar story with a comforting message, performed with the sort of charm that can make an audience smile. But, as with the title character, the ambition on display seems to be just to show up and not get embarrassed, rather than to actually excel.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=28766&reviewer=371
originally posted: 03/05/16 10:23:03
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User Comments

8/06/16 chad cowgill Very inspirational, the characters could be related to, never boring, makes me want to ski 4 stars
4/23/16 Ruth Goaz Absolutely atrocious and totally unwatchable. 1 stars
3/08/16 FireWithFire "Eddie the Eagle" is a bloody load of old rubbish. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Feb-2016 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Jun-2016

UK
  28-Mar-2016 (PG)

Australia
  21-Apr-2016
  DVD: 14-Jun-2016




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