The Hippo


Jun 27, 2019








Eddie the Eagle

Eddie the Eagle (PG-13)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

Eddie the Eagle (PG-13)

A British boy with a dream of being in the Olympics — any Olympics for whatever sport — battles to make the U.K. team for Calgary in 1988 in Eddie the Eagle, a cute, lightweight movie about never giving up that is based on a true story.
I’d say “this is an OK movie to show your kids about never giving up” except the thing Eddie is never giving up on is ski jumping, which looks like a purposeful attempt at a spine and/or head injury so maybe you don’t want to show this to your kids.
As a boy, little Eddie Edwards (Tom Costello Jr.) wants desperately to be in the Olympics — perhaps something in swimming, as some injury to his knees has required him to wear a brace. Once the brace comes off, teenage Eddie (Jack Costello) thinks maybe track and field — though attempts in that direction seem to result mainly in broken glasses and minor property damage. Then, he decides the Winter Olympics might be for him. Twentysomething Eddie (Taron Egerton) gets very close to making the U.K. team for the 1988 Winter Olympics but he’s told by Dustin Target (Tim McInnerny) that he isn’t Olympic material.
Eddie considers giving up — but only for about a minute, until he discovers one nearly forgotten (by the British) event, ski jumping. He heads to Germany to train, with the idea that as long as he gets on the board at an Olympics-sanctioned event, he can get on the British team, being the only British ski jumper. 
While training/falling at the big ski jump training hill in Germany, Eddie meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), the hill’s heavy-drinking maintenance guy. Because, of course in a movie like this, Bronson is also a former Olympic-hopeful ski jumper who knows whereof he speaks when he tells Eddie that he’s totally going to get himself killed sliding down the mountain on his face or back. After the requisite bit of back and forth, Bronson agrees to coach Eddie, just until he gets qualified for the Olympics, in part to keep him from ending up in a coma and in part to help exorcise old Olympic demons.
On a side note: Last week, I criticized Race for shoehorning, among many other things, a story about Jesse Owens’ coach (who drank too much, had an almost-ran Olympic past and a career in a bit of a shambles) into Owens’ own story. I guess it’s nice to know that that kind of lazy writing and movie padding isn’t just something that’s done to the stories of African-American athletes. Like “sassy best friend” or “jerk who’s not right for her” in a romantic comedy, apparently “boozy coach” is a requirement in sports movies. It’s OK, movie, just to cut that coach stuff out. Nobody’s going to complain about an 85-minute movie if it means we lose 20 minutes of irrelevant cliches.
Just because he makes it to Calgary, though, doesn’t mean Eddie’s troubles are over. The poshier other team members act like frat boys from a 1980s R-rated comedy and pull mean tricks on him. And Dustin, who apparently doesn’t understand how public relations works, attempts to keep the press away from Eddie once the story of his Olympic dreams is known.
Yes, because when are triumph-of-the-underdog stories a part of sports except in every movie, Olympics news special and magazine article? (OK, sometimes you get a sports story about athletes caught up in a scandal but otherwise….)
Eddie the Eagle is cute but slight. We don’t really get to know Eddie that well, beyond the whole “boy with a dream” thing. Everything else in the movie is so paint by numbers (the jerk Olympic establishment, the drunken coach, the supportive mom, the gruff dad) that scenes feel overlong and repetitive in their opening lines. Taron Egerton is fine — but there’s too much of a “collection of twitches” feel to how he crafts Eddie to ever really let us feel like we’re watching a real person. Hugh Jackman plays basically the same character he’s played in every movie, and the rest of the characters are so one-dimensional that they almost fade away.
That said, Eddie the Eagle has a kind of sweetness that makes it one of those believe-in-yourself movies that could have been suitable for family viewing if it weren’t for a few (relatively tame) moments of raunchiness. If you like a sports movie — no matter the quality — Eddie the Eagle is neither angering (ahem Race) nor painful, but the Wikipedia page on Eddie the Eagle is just as much fun. C
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking. Directed by Dexter Fletcher with a screenplay by Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton, Eddie the Eagle is an hour and 45 minutes long and distributed by 20th Century Fox.

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