The underdog hero of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, British plasterer turned ski jumper Eddie the Eagle remains a crowd-pleaser in this feel-good biopic.
With his milk-bottle glasses, jutting chin and fuzzy moustache, plucky British ski jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, underdog hero of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, remains an endearing figure of fun in this feel-good sporting romp, Eddie the Eagle.
Giving Eddie’s story a perky fictional gloss, actor turned director Dexter Fletcher charts the Cheltenham plasterer’s journey from sports-mad but clumsy kid to unlikely Olympic contender, seizing opportunities for slapstick comedy along the way.
Taron Egerton proves a good fit for Eddie’s ski boots, while Hugh Jackman is ideally cast as his gruff coach, a wayward former ski jumping star reduced to working as a snowplough driver at the German centre where Eddie goes to train. (He’s an entirely invented character, by the way.)
The British sporting establishment (typified by a snooty Tim McInnerny) does its best to hinder Eddie’s progress, but buoyed up by a jaunty soundtrack of 1980s pop (from Howard Jones and Nick Kershaw to, inevitably, Van Halen’s ‘Jump’) our hero fulfils his dream of becoming an Olympian.
As you might expect, Eddie’s exploits are mostly played for laughs, but the moments when he launches himself down the takeoff ramp and into space are truly heart grabbing, reminding us of the very real grit and guts it took for Eddie to make his mark as a hapless loser.
Certificate PG. Runtime 101 mins. Director Dexter Fletcher
Eddie the Eagle is available on Digital Download and is released on Blu-ray & DVD on 8 August, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.