I’m not a fan of sports movies. They all tend to be cliche, similar in pacing, hitting the same beats. It doesn’t make any of those movies bad, necessarily, and some are quite entertaining. But it’s the rare sports film – Bull Durham, for example – that I’m willing to sit through even once, let alone multiple viewings.
Eddie the Eagle isn’t exceptional. It’s a well-told story about ski jumper Eddie Edwards and his ridiculously long-shot attempt to compete in the Olympics. Taron Egerton is terrific as the titular athlete, an awkward, sincere young man, who, when told as a child that he will likely never walk right, let alone compete in any sports, decides his future is as an Olympian. Hugh Jackman plays a watered-down Logan, a smoking, hard-drinking ne’er-do-well and former ski jumper who helps coach Eddie. (The smoking and drinking are likely responsible for the PG-13 rating. I was surprised after watching to learn it wasn’t PG.) From here, of course, the movie writes itself, as these two mismatched pals take on the British Olympic establishment to compete in the world’s biggest sporting event.
So would I recommend Eddie the Eagle? It’s not my kind of thing, and had it not been a family movie night selection, I’d have never watched it. But as a family movie night selection, it was a satisfying choice. It’s funny and heartwarming, the kind of thing that thirty years ago might have ended up on Wonderful World of Disney instead of in theaters.