Movie Review: “Eddie the Eagle”

Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen
Dexter Fletcher

Disney may be king of the underdog sports drama, but actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher aims to beat the studio at its own game with this inspirational true story that’s equal parts “Rudy” and “Cool Runnings.” (Curiously, the story is set during the same Winter Olympics that marked the debut of the Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the latter film.) Though it’s a pretty formulaic underdog tale that checks off all the usual sports movie clichés – from the unlikely hero who overcomes insurmountable odds, to the training montages, setbacks and cardboard villains – “Eddie the Eagle” succeeds as an enjoyable feel-good film that wears its heart (and humor) on its sleeve just like its incredibly charismatic subject.

As long as he can remember, Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) wanted to compete in the Olympics, despite not being very athletic as a kid. Following a series of failed attempts at various sports, he eventually discovers a love for downhill skiing and turns out to be pretty good at it. But after narrowly missing out on selection for the squad representing Great Britain at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Eddie switches his focus to ski jumping when he discovers that the country hasn’t had a recognized ski jumper in over 60 years. With no time to waste and plenty to learn, Eddie heads to an Olympic training camp in Germany, where he meets former ski jumping champion Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) – now a washed-up alcoholic who drives a snow plow for a living – and asks for his help in order to qualify for Calgary.

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