Eddie the Eagle Review – Slow to take off

A mousy Taron Egerton plays Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, the fabled underdog ski jumper, in this fluffy feel-good sports movie from producer Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service).

If only Vaughn could have passed on some of his bite to Dexter Fletcher in the director’s chair. Fletcher’s film is cloyingly bubbly from the word go, as we take a whistle-stop tour through Eddie’s childhood as he tries (and fails) his hand at a gamut of Olympic disciplines. He finds most success on the slopes, but even then he’s turned away. So, Eddie decides to take things into his own hands and transfers over to ski jumping, hoping to qualify for the Olympics thanks to the complete lack of British competition.

 The combination of frantic pacing and the soaring motivational 80s score results in some rather syrupy early scenes and the inspirational narrative beats go through the motions accordingly. Things do look up, though, as Eddie sets his sights on qualification for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. With this, the film turns its back on its quirkiest diversions, instead falling into more conventional sports movie fare and the well-tried formula delivers an effective third act.

Eddie the Eagle will play well to the right audiences, but I was only passingly charmed.

★★★

A big thank you to the FDA for hosting the screening!

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