by Danny Stout
There’s nothing wrong with the recent film, Eddie the Eagle, based on the true story of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards played by Taron Egerton. Despite lacking athletic prowess, and being perceived as “uncouth” by the British Olympic organization, he somehow makes it to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta as a ski jumper. I wasn’t bored. It’s basically mid-range entertainment; a nice story likely to be quickly forgotten.
Despite a notable performance by Hugh Jackman playing a snow groomer and former jumper himself, the film struggles with its identity. The self-proclaimed, dramedy, leaves audiences on each side asking for more. Some will crave more drama, while others leave the theater unsatisfied that a good laugh never happened.
Who, precisely is this driven man Eddie? Why is he so consumed with being an Olympic champion? Few answers are provided, thus relegating him to flat character status. The same occurs with the Norwegian and British athletes that bully him incessantly. No doubt such teasing exists in the sports world, but there’s always an occasional, “Way to go!” or “Good luck!” Not here. Eddie’s teammates are reminiscent of the heartless high school kids in the original Karate Kid. Such characters provide necessary conflict, but do people like that really exist? That’s the question I kept asking about most of the characters in Eddie.
Lowering expectations elevates enjoyment. Think of it as a good TV show. If you’re expecting the depth of quality found in the best of the sports film genre, Eddie will disappoint. It falls considerably short of The Natural, Rudy, or Field of Dreams. Perhaps the filmmakers lacked clear agreement about what they wanted the movie to be at the outset. If they couldn’t figure it out, how can we?