Based on the true story of British Olympic folk-hero Eddie Edwards, Eddie the Eagle plays to a surprisingly young audience. Ski jumping is an odd sport, but the film doesn’t play off its oddness and quirkiness terribly well, instead relying on lots of falling over for comic effect as well as the charm of star Taron Edgerton (unrecognisable from Kingsman) to see it land very safely. It is full of Dinseyfied underdog story tropes and cliches, some of which it pulls off admirably, many of which miss the mark.
Edgerton is the standout performer as the low flying Brit, a likeable, gawkish trier whilst Hugh Jackman is typically amiable as his heavy drinking, American coach. Dexter Fletcher is the surprising choice for director. The social realism which accompanied his debut Wild Bill couldn’t be further away here. If you want the real story, it seems unlikely you’ll find it in this movie, because Eddie the Eagle feels extremely polished and overly sentimental, slapping you around the face with the emotional beats. Then again, it is equally targeted at kids as it aims to please adults, a rare film for all ages not featuring talking animated animals. A faux-Chariots of Fire score accompanies the picture for added schmaltz. There’s absolutely nothing new here, but as lightly uplifting viewing, it will find an audience.
Review by David Rank
Eddie the Eagle is out now in the UK. Certificate PG (UK). Running time 106 mins.