Eagle Vs Shark

"Weak"

Eagle Vs Shark Review


The only measure of a comedy is whether you laughed, and how hard. As comedies go, the Kiwi import Eagle vs Shark, doesn't register more than halfway up the comedy meter. Writer-director Taika Waititi manages a sprinkle of chuckles, a couple of guffaws, but, mostly, while watching it, I felt as if I were a polite judge at an audition, unable to leave or bark "Next!" for fear of hurting its feelings. It's offbeat, I'll give you that. Terminally offbeat. But it rests a bit too comfortably on its geeked-out charms and sweet intentions to ever really carve out an "attitude" for itself, or come up with enough inventive ideas to make it worthwhile.

Everything Eagle vs Shark tries to do, Napoleon Dynamite already did, and did better, funnier. Dynamite has proven itself as the contemporary standard-bearer for this sort of comedy -- the absurdist geek romance, deadpan in tone, and peopled with quirky but sweet-natured characters.

Like Dynamite, Eagle vs Shark involves romantic pair-ups, and a plot riffing on teenage redemption. In Dynamite, said redemption was about winning the high-school class presidency. Eagle vs Shark's concerns a video-game store clerk's fanatical vow of revenge against the bully who tormented him in high school. Sporting a god-awful mullet and the dorkiest of glasses (standard geek-wear, I should say; Dynamite featured an impossibly bad afro), the slack-jawed Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) takes up with Lily (Loren Horsley), the wallflower-shy burger-joint cashier who's always had a mad -- and inexplicable -- crush on him. They're years removed from youth, but both bear losses from then that continue to haunt them; Lily lost both her parents as a child, and now lives with her cheery brother Damien (Joel Tobeck), while Jarrod's brother's death is what informs his revenge-seeking.

As soon as the romance is established, Waititi shifts into themes of family as Lily accompanies Jarrod to his home, where he travels to mete out his payback. Everyone here is expectedly off their rocker -- Jarrod's sister and brother-in-law are hapless entrepreneurs, his wheelchair-bound father (Brian Sergent) is continually pissed-off, and his dim-bulb friend Mason (Cohen Holloway) is one step above certified retardation. If you're aiming for "quirky," this is a potential goldmine, but it's "fool's gold" we get as Waititi never ventures too far from the safe zone, and retreads jokes that are about as funny as a middling SNL sketch. And what is Vinny (Morag Hills), Jarrod's nine-year-old daughter, in all her quirky, bespectacled cuteness, if not an easy bid for as much, a la Little Miss Sunshine or Jerry Maguire, for God's sake?

Once home, Jarrod spends his time gearing up for his big fight, all karate-chops and nunchucks, and bidding for his estranged father's affection. The plot trajectory takes us through the fracturing of Jarrod and Lily's romance, a romantic interloper in the guise of Jarrod's late-brother's fiancée, and Lily's discovery of the skeletons in Jarrod's closet, before the warm-and-fuzzy third-act, boy-girl/father-son make-up.

Waititi's strategy is to populate the story with as many odd ducks as he can, rather than cut deep, and create unique comic situations. There's the occasional surprise (the reveal of Jarrod's bully being the standout), a clever sight gag or two, but these are few, far between. At best, this is a pleasant affair, but a drab, predictable one, with king-geek Jarrod a stultifying bore. Rising above the material is Horsley, bright-eyed and winning as Lily. She's the movie's comic and emotional anchor. More than once, Waititi relies on her comic timing and acuity to find his scene's pulse. Without her, Eagle vs Shark could well have been D.O.A.

4:1 odds on Eagle.



Eagle Vs Shark

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 30th August 2007

Box Office USA: $0.1M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Whenua Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 49

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Ainsley Gardiner

Starring: Loren Horsley as Lily, as Jarrod, as Damon, Rachel House as Nancy, David Fane as Eric Elisi, as Doug Davis

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.