A word on underdogs first. Nerdy Fact #... I don't even know anymore. Let's call it ... #2573. I wasn't the most athletic child. I was a book reader, a movie watcher. I eventually grew into sports, but only because I was forced. Therefore, it's easy to get inspired when you watch an underdog achieve his dreams when you were an underdog. However, I think that there is at least a small portion of every person that was an underdog at some point, and that's why we enjoy these types of films so much.
Anyways, on with the film.
It starts with a young boy with “dodgy” legs, desperately attempting to find his niche in sports. He is seeking the sport that will eventually bring him to the Olympics. After a montage of fails (many of which were rather humorous), we see him eventually find his way in skiing: specifically, downhill skiing. He racks up awards and eventually as a young man (now played by Taron Egerton) tries to make the Olympic team for Britain. However, they disregard him and send him home. He then settles on a new sport: Ski Jumping, in which Britain hasn’t competed in 50 years. He only has to compete to make the team because he has no competition.
Eventually, he realizes he knows nothing about the sport and needs to train. He settles on failed American Ski Jumper Bronson Peary (played by Hugh Jackman) as his coach. After the requisite “I won’t be your coach” “ok, I feel bad so I’ll teach you a few things” “Ok, I’m your coach kid” set of dialogue, we eventually see a comradery form between the two. This is my only big problem that I had with the film, and it’s something that most sport movies now fall into: it’s so methodical and cliché. But, this movie redeems itself in a couple of ways.
First, the leads have true chemistry. The cliché training montages look fun enough to make you forget about the cliché. Jackman and Egerton both are able to convey true emotion in several scenes, including the most important one: triumph. Both of the actors were great throughout, and all the secondary characters had decent performances. I didn’t necessarily love the constant praise by Eddie’s mother, or the constant criticism by his father. However, it may have really happened that way. Who knows with “based on a true story”?
One thing that came through the film was the humor, and for me, that was a big win. Overall, I’m going to give Eddie the Eagle an “A-“.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"