The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Tim McInnerny, Christopher Walken, Daniel Ings, Ania Sowinsky
Rated: PG-13 (some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking)
Eddie the Eagle
By Matt Greene
It’s hard to imagine anyone truly loving or hating Eddie the Eagle. A middle-of-the-road (or slope, if you prefer) true-life sports drama that is so similar to Disney’s Cool Runnings that it’s hard to believe they aren’t actually connected. It’s a 1980’s set Winter Olympics tale starring an event contender from a country who has rarely competed in their event, led by a disgraced coach who learns to love the sport again. The only difference: Cool Runnings is relatively coherent and immensely charming, whereas Eddie prefers to just let the clichés abound like snowflakes on a ski-lift.
We watch Olympic hopeful Michael “Eddie” Edwards as he ascends the ranks of world-wide ski-jumping to just barely qualify as a contender. Just like Eddie himself, the film toes the line of barely passing and completely losing. At first, it’s strong eighties setting and attention to detail is uniquely colorful for an inspirational sports film. Unfortunately the corny script, depthless characters, and atrocious skiing effects overwhelm any goodwill the movie earns early on.
What a shame that such an extremely easy-to-root for guy is stuck in such a weightless product. Egerton (Kingsman) is definitely a fun newcomer to watch, as he captures Eddie’s naïve determination and awkward charm with aplomb. Director Fletcher, however, clearly doesn’t have a strong enough grasp on what made this guy an unpredictable, worldwide phenomenon. Despite its promising protagonist and premise, Eddie the Eagle is sadly a forgettable movie about an unforgettable icon.
2 out of 5 Stars
Eddie the Eagle
By Cole Schneider
“Eddie the Eagle,” which could have easily been titled “Eddie the Montage” or “Cool Runnings: Brits Like Winter Sports 2,” recounts the inspirational story of Eddie Edwards, who dreamed of making the Olympics despite lacking any real athletic ability and eventually turned to ski jumping to represent England in the 1988 games to the delight of the multi-national crowd. Yes, it’s another in a long line of generic sports movies trying really, really hard to uplift your spirit. “Eddie the Eagle” begs a question we never wanted to consider: when does homage become theft?
There are direct rip-offs from several movies—remember the speech Babe Ruth gave in The Sandlot or Rudy getting mauled at practice?—and if a student were to turn in a paper with this kind of blatant forgery s/he would get an automatic ‘F’. Replace the indomitable comedy of Jamaican bobsled coach John Candy with the defeated laziness of the generally talented Hugh Jackman as well as the fish-out-of-water charm of the Jamaican bobsled team with the overacted solo performance of Taron Egerton and you have “Eddie the Eagle”.
There is a story here to be sure; Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards is a rich biography if told with acumen. It’s the kind of story that might have made for a wonderful 30 For 30 documentary, but here it’s a generic sports flick without one real person represented on screen (caricatures abound every bit as much as much as tropes or clichés) with a singular gimmick: celebrate participation not performance. That’s cool I guess. I’ll give it a green ribbon worth 2 stars.
2 out of 5 Stars