Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Movies: Eagle vs. Shark

I saw a pretty funny comedy before I learned the news of my grandmother's illness, and it wouldn't be fair to discard it just because of unfortunate circumstances. Here's the trailer for "Eagle vs. Shark," a film directed by Taika Waiti:

"Eagle vs. Shark" is about a shy girl named Lily who is smitten by a strange man named Jarrod. Both work in the same kind of dead-end retail job that seems to inspire comedies nowadays, and eventually Lily learns that Jarrod needs a trip back home to complete a mission of revenge. The movie gleefully follows the unlikely duo to Jarrod's hometown, and a good part of the running time is concerned with the misadventures that occur there.

I dislike simplifying a movie's premise to a tagline, but in this case, it's very apt - "Eagle vs. Shark" is essentially "Napoleon Dynamite" set in New Zealand. You have the same oddball characters, the same meandering plot, and even similar styles of semi-slapstick physical comedy. There are scenes that are riotously funny (look for a dead-on parody of "Mortal Kombat" early in the film) and scenes that are partly dramatic. Like "Napoleon Dynamite," though, the movie doesn't have the same punch of classic dramedies like "Little Miss Sunshine," muting the film's emotional appeal. Still, it's a tasty confection, and worth viewing.

Rating: 8/10


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