Golden duo let down by clichés

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

As Le­ices­ter City’s march to­wards an un­likely English Premier League ti­tle shows, ev­ery­one loves a good un­der­dog story.

And there are few big­ger un­der­dogs in sport­ing his­tory than Ed­die Ed­wards (played here by Taron Eger­ton), a Chel­tenham plumber who went all the way to the 1988 Win­ter Olympics as the UK’s first ever Olympic ski jumper, de­spite a se­vere lack of abil­ity.

It’s a story that seems ripe for the cin­e­matic pick­ing and ex-Press Gang star turned di­rec­tor Dex­ter Fletcher is the man tasked with get­ting the project off the ground.

Fletcher is no stranger to a crowd-pleas­ing Brit flick, hav­ing helmed 2013’s like­able big screen take on hit mu­si­cal Sun­shine of Leith, and he is clearly a fan of the tra­di­tional sport­ing suc­cess movie tem­plate.

Quickly edited train­ing mon­tages? Check. Bully boy ri­vals mock­ing our hero’s ef­forts? Check. Over­com­ing ini­tial fears to im­prove sec­ond and third time around? You bet.

The di­rec­tor even goes as far as in­tro­duc­ing a fic­tional coach – Hugh Jack­man’s su­perbly named Bron­son Peary – to help Ed­die take flight.

A pre­dictable, story-en­hanc­ing move it may be, but it proves to be the film’s mas­ter­stroke as Jack­man has a ball as a gruff men­tor equally adept at dish­ing out put­downs and in­spi­ra­tional pep talks.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Jack­man and Eger­ton is a joy to be­hold and the young Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice star thrives off trad­ing barbs with Wolver­ine in his best per­for­mance yet.

It would be easy for Ed­die to come across as a bum­bling fool com­plete with saucer-size glasses, but Eger­ton em­bod­ies the Bri­tish icon with warmth, in­fec­tious op­ti­mism and a burn­ing de­sire to do his fam­ily, coach and coun­try proud.

Fletcher also brings the thrills when Ed­die straps on his skis, not least with dizzy­ing cam­er­a­work as the wannabe Olympian teeters on the edge of the abyss of a steep drop that would leave even renowned high wire daredevil Philippe Petit a lit­tle green around the gills.

On equally shaky foot­ing, though, is the screen­play by de­but movie writ­ers Sean Ma­caulay and Si­mon Kel­ton. The afore­men­tioned clichés are so familiar you can guess which scenes are com­ing next and char­ac­ters like Tim McIn­nerny’s bu­reau­crat and Keith Allen’s work­ing-class dad are so pa­per thin you half ex­pect them to blow away.

And as nice as it is to see act­ing leg­ends Jim Broad­bent and Christo­pher Walken on hand, blink and you re­ally will miss their rather re­dun­dant con­tri­bu­tions.

But there’s also some­thing im­mi­nently en­dear­ing about the in­of­fen­sive, charm­ing fam­ily fun Ed­die the Ea­gle de­liv­ers in spades (or should that be snow shov­els?).

It’s no Cool Run­nings, but, let’s face it, very few sport­ing flicks hit those heights.

Hit­ting the slopes Eger­ton and Jack­man tar­get ski jump glory

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