There are plenty of things to praise about ‘Eddie the Eagle,’ though it’s far from great. Taron Egerton gives a great performance and lifts the thin script up quite a bit. Eddie Redmayne should look to him as an example on how to act with a contorted face-as should the academy when they consider nominating actors for so-called “incredible transformations,” especially ones with complacent performances. Egerton really gave his character depth, and the film would have been very boring without such a powerful performance. The script took the likeability of the main character for granted, but Egerton did not. Hugh Jackman gave a decent performance, but it didn’t feel like he was having as much fun as he could have. Part of the problem was that the script briefly touched on aspects of the character and never really developed them. It felt as though the script was a checklist in that regard.
Eddie is based on an actual Olympic competitor in the 1988 Winter Olympics. He dreamed about competing since he was a small boy wearing a leg brace. There is almost no development there. He gets his brace off and starts trying out different sports before deciding on skiing, which we’re told he actually becomes pretty good at, but the members of the Olympic committee don’t think he’s the right type for the team. One man in particular regularly discourages him in his endeavors and even changes the ski jumping qualifications to try to prevent Eddie from joining the team. There is an incident at the actual Olympics where a member of the ski teams coerces Eddie into getting drunk as a hazing and bullying tactic, causing Eddie to miss the opening ceremony. All that really comes out of that subplot is that the press leaves a conference with the bully to interview Eddie. That moment is so underwhelming that it makes the scene feel incredibly shoe horned. Several things felt shoe horned into the film like Hugh Jackman’s character’s back story and his relationship with his old coach, played by Christopher Walken. It just felt like unnecessary time filler. There is also frequent encounters with the team from Norway whose members ridicule Eddie, because there always have to be bullying rivals in an underdog story.
‘Eddie the Eagle’ is an entertaining enough movie, but if people see it, they should probably catch an early showing and pay a lower ticket price. I just didn’t tear up during the actual movie like I did watching the trailer (the scene where a child Eddie isn’t picked on a neighborhood team isn’t in the actual movie) or for ‘Cool Runnings’ (seriously, the team carrying their broken sled across the finish line gets me every time). Edgerton’s performance really makes the movie worth watching and goes a long way in making the shoe horned moments more watchable. It is currently playing in all mainstream theaters in the Miami Valley.