In 2016 you’d think that a film about striving to scrape by and become a bit less shit would be eaten up by us down-on-our-luck millennials. However, Eddie the Eagle is fuelled by too many half-formed ideas and ends up coming off as a fast-paced mush, like porridge laced with speed.
The film follows the journey of Eddie the Ed Edwards. He goes from being an olympic-obsessed child with a dodgy knee in a working-class family, towards competing in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics as Britain’s first ski-jumper. It’s a story already deeply embedded in the British psyche, so it seems natural to adapt it into a film. Here lies the problem; it feels like they’ve decided to produce an Eddie the Eagle movie and then had a script fitted as an afterthought.
The script is awkward and disjointed, with dialogues that feel uncomfortable even when performed by the unobjectionable cast. Singing beefcake Hugh Jackman plays a surly American former jumper who is won over by Eddie’s perseverance and is convinced to train him. Nothing in the script convinces the audience that Jackman’s character should ever like Eddie, and this flip feels more like adherence to form and convention rather than any sort of real character development.
Flaws in the script like this are everywhere. The narrative makes little sense, basically Eddie qualifies for the Olympics, then is disqualified for some reason, and then this repeats a couple more times. The audience goes in knowing that Eddie inevitably competes, which is an obstacle for creating drama, but there’s really no jeopardy. There’s a lot of time spent trying to get the audience interested in ski-jumping technique and Olympic qualification procedure, both of which are intrinsically uninteresting.
There are some genuinely tense and compelling moments, such as Eddie’s first big crash and his difficult relationship with his parents, but there are equally as many flat jokes and woeful uses of CGI. However, it’s good that there are now two films based on the 1988 Winter Olympics, because coming last to Cool Runnings is definitely what Eddie the Eagle would’ve wanted.
[Jimmy Donaghy – @JimmyDonagee]
Image: Larry Horricks, 20thC Fox