Eddie the Eagle review: Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman nail the landing

Dexter Fletcher’s biopic of the fated British ski jumper Eddie Edwards shamelessly and faultlessly hits every cheap chord - you may even shed a tear

Emotional highs: Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman in Eddie the Eagle

Film Title: Eddie the Eagle

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Tom Costello, Jack Costello, Mark Benton, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 106 min

Wed, Mar 30, 2016, 14:51

   

Is it mean of us to point out that Gordon Brown’s brother-in-law co-wrote this very agreeable study of a great British loser? Probably. But we do so anyway.

Eddie the Eagle has no right to be as entertaining as it turns out. The script takes the story of Eddie Edwards – the semi-competent Gloucestershire ski jumper who represented Great Britain in the 1988 Winter Olympics – and wraps it in tendrils of crowd-pleasing nonsense.

Jo Hartley is Eddie’s loyal mum. Keith Allen is the intolerant plasterer whose quixotic son is sure to win him over in the final reel. Poor old Hugh Jackman does his best with a role so soaked in cliche it is rendered nearly unplayable: the boozed-up coach who blew his own chance of greatness and sees a chance of redemption in this mad, plucky kid. Mind you, he looks as if he enjoys the scene where he jumps drunkenly to Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song.

Dexter Fletcher’s unflinching determination to shamelessly hit every cheap chord cannot be faulted: the final semi-triumphant jump drew pathetic tears from, erm, somebody sitting in my seat.

It is, however, Taron Egerton’s irresistible lead performance that really sends the movie aloft. The film-makers do try and have it both ways: Eddie is a deluded fool and a self-aware hero. Egerton is good in both roles, but spends most of his time perfecting the sort of plucky, shy, borderline- disordered yeoman that has fired English comedy since A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

What an interesting actor this chap is. Currently short-listed for the young Han Solo, he could, on this evidence, also make a decent fist of the young Norman Wisdom. I haven’t seen a British actor flinch so convincingly from a romantic advance in 30 years.

A great success on its own humble terms.