PG-13 | 1h 45min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters February 26th 2016**
Synopsis: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Review: In the same fashion that Eddie Edwards emerged from out of nowhere to capture the hearts of the 1988 Olympics so will Eddie the Eagle entertain and inspire February movie goers. It is a feel good story about a guy with little more than a dream and a no quit attitude. Two elements that ignite a passion that is infectious, memorable, and will have you leaping from your theater seats.
From the time he was a wee lad Eddie (Taron Egerton) has wanted only to be an Olympian. But this scrawny kid with bad knees and zero muscle mass might as well have wanted to become king of England. Much to the chagrin of his blue color father and doting mother Eddie ignores their pleas to stay grounded in his ambitions. Passion trumps reason every time and he soon finds himself vying for the 1988 Winter Olympics as a Ski jumper. Problem is he has never actually jumped before. Hopefully with the help of a bitter, boozing coach (Hugh Jackman) he can land on two feet and not kill himself in the process. Everyone around Eddie shake their heads and tell him to quit while he still has one attached to his shoulders. The rest, as they say, is history.
Director Dexter Fletcher makes smart use of his cast and script to bring us a whimsical and enchanting true story. Not since RUDY has an underdog tale been so delightful to watch. Fletcher takes the physical elements of the sport and allows us to view it from the perspective of this tenacious young man. In essence Eddie is quite crazy. But you can't help but wonder what we could all achieve if we tapped into our own crazy.
Fans of Kingsman: The Secret Service will have a hard time recognizing Egerton in this role. His physical metamorphosis into Eddie Edwards is spectacular. If you see pictures of the real Edwards you notice the prominent under-bite and thick glasses immediately. Taron uses both of these elements to create an onscreen version that grounds the character to the script. Looking at him as he is makes what he did even that more unbelievable.
Jackman on the other hand is quite recognizable. We have seen this performance from him in several other films. The grouchy, washed up, "has-been" being prodded into stepping out of his drunken stupor to help a lost cause is not a stretch at all. That no way means it was a bad performance. Actually Jackman and Egerton have a strong chemistry that feels natural. Their report never comes off as faked or staged. They are the oddest of couples but Hugh is certainly Hugh.
If ever a film had the follow your dream message down cold it is this one. Many times we watch underdog teams overcome social, economic, and inward struggle to win "the big game". But to witness a young man make it to the Olympics, almost by himself, is outstanding. It is impossible to think of Eddie during your own day to day obstacles and not press on with a renewed vigor.
EDDIE THE EAGLE is rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking. The nudity is not actual but implied and takes place in a men's locker room. It is more awkward for the characters than the audience. The suggestive material is confined in one scene where Eddie's coach is giving him a pep talk using romantic intimacy as a metaphor for adrenaline rush. You can imagine what that might include. It is not a long scene but will be a few seconds of awkwardness for you and your younger kiddo. But once it is over it is soon forgotten. I give it 3.75 out of 5 personal bests. It is a lot of fun to watch and one that will truly lift your spirits.