Based on the true story of an unapologetic underdog who never won anything, this British comedy is a shameless crowd-pleaser. Eddie Edwards won the hearts of fans worldwide by coming in dead last at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the cast and crew follow his journey with buckets of humour and emotion, plus some seriously exhilarating ski jumping. And like its central character, the film is awkward, good-hearted and impossible not to love.
Eddie (Taron Egerton) grew up obsessed with becoming an Olympian even though he has no talent for sport. He manages to become a regional downhill skiing champion, but is so annoying that the head of the British Olympics Team (Tim McInnerny) changes the rules to disqualify him. So at 22 he instead decides to become Britain's only ski jumper. He moves to Germany to train on his own, meeting the jaded ex-jumper Bronson (Hugh Jackman) and persistently convincing him to offer some coaching tips. And as the Olympics officials keep raising the bar for membership on the team, Eddie improves just enough to qualify. His father (Keith Allen) thinks he should give up, but his mother (Jo Hartley) quietly offers support. And it's Eddie's sheer tenacity that gets him to Calgary.
Director Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) tells this story as a high-energy comedy centred on a dorky young man who simply won't take no for an answer. Egerton plays Eddie with perhaps too many physical tics, but exudes so much goofy charm that it's easy to see how he won over the people around him, and the global audience watching the Olympics. His interaction with everyone he meets on this journey is barbed and hilarious, and his joy at each small achievement is infections. Egerton also generates terrific chemistry with Jackman in one of his most enjoyable roles yet. It's hugely entertaining to watch this grouchy loser be begrudgingly coaxed out of his shell by Eddie's boundless enthusiasm.
Continue reading: Eddie The Eagle Review
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