Anyone who gets sentimental about underdog sports movies should strap on a pair of skis and get to a screening. “Eddie the Eagle” oozes a feel-good vibe as it cleanly reimagines the story of real-life British ski jumper Michael “Eddie” Edwards, who goes from bumbling novice to bumbling Olympian with the help of a few funny montages, plenty of cheesiness and a load of special effects.
For British cinephiles, this movie is like heaven. Director Dexter Fletcher (Soap in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) employs the same flashy, CG-heavy film techniques as his cinematic brother Guy Ritchie. Think lots of style over substance.
Taron Egerton (the suave Gary “Eggsy” Unwin of “Kingsman: The Secret Service”) plays up the inept nerd angle to a nearly unmatched proportion and seemingly spends half the movie squinting and fixing his glasses. Blinded by ambition and the desire to make a showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, Egerton’s Eddie manages to be equal parts obnoxious and endearing. I’m a sucker for underdogs and couldn’t help but hold my breath when he hits the slopes and flies off of a ramp.
Former ski jumping prodigy Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) helps Eddie as a reluctant mentor. Does this sound familiar? It should. There’s hardly an original bone in this movie’s DNA (besides a scene involving a hilarious book that’s voiced by Christopher Walken), but the film avoids skating on thin ice for too long. Plus, it boasts a great, goofy soundtrack plucked from the ’80s.