Like a lot of people, I had no idea who Michael “Eddie” Edwards was before this movie started getting promoted. Apparently, he made a name for himself during the 1988 Winter Olympics, but America eventually became more captivated by that inspirational bobsled team out of Jamaica that was busy doing the same. As it turns out, his story is kind of similar to theirs in some ways. Hoping to cash in on that, I’m sure the crew behind Eddie the Eagle hopes that it can be just as successful as Cool Runnings in some ways.
For as long as he could remember, “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) dreamed of being an Olympic athlete. He isn’t the most talented or charismatic, but he has the belief in himself to push forward as he attempts to be the first British sky-jumper in decades. With the odds being heavily stacked against him, his prospects seem slim, but that all changed once he meets up with a rebellious American coach (Hugh Jackman) who may have what it takes to get him to Calgary in order to take part in the games that he’s always wanted to compete in.
Eddie the Eagle is a nice little flick that could have been better if it was funnier. They try to get a reaction from the audience, but it doesn’t quite get to where it wants to be in those terms. Under normal circumstances, a comedy failing to make you laugh would be considered a bad movie, but that’s not completely the case when looking at everything else this picture is offering.
While it doesn’t bring about the laughs I was hoping for, Eddie the Eagle gets plenty of other things right. One of those things is the chemistry between the two main characters. Egerton and Jackman are both believable in their roles, but they also seem to have a connection that serves the picture well. Watching them on-screen is a treat, but it’s also important since they are asked to do most of the heavy lifting.
Another feature that works here is the overall tone of the film. At the start, this looks to be a cheesy movie about to unsuccessfully recreate the vibes of the 1980’s. They miss with this too with all of the 80’s references and the bad music, but as everything moves along, it proves itself to be more than that as it effectively includes heart, character and punch to its fact based journey.
Because of this and the two leads, the film’s spirit survives where it probably wouldn’t in most instances. Having these factors combine in this way illustrates how important things outside of story and special effects can be. That’s not to say that there are no special effects or a story here, because there are. However, without these vital elements, this movie would almost certainly prove to be a disappointment in essentially every way imaginable.
I wish Eddie the Eagle was funnier than it actually is, but the film as a whole is nothing to completely write off as something you should skip. While I’m unable to say this is fantastic, I can say that it’s at least worth a try if you’re the kind of person who could be interested in something like this. This clearly isn’t on the level of something like Cool Runnings, but it’s decent enough to check out if you’re looking for some entertainment that could be considered wholesome.
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Film Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: February 26, 2016
Distributor: 20th Century Fox