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Published August 17th, 2007 | by Coco Forsythe

Eagle vs Shark Review

Classification: 15 Director: Taika Waititi Rating: 3/5

Eagle vs Shark bothered me. The title. That poster, with a Jeff Goldblum lookalike dressed up as an eagle…. All the signs of low-budget indie ‘zaniness’ were there and filled me with dread – you know the kind of film that mistakes cute for good storytelling. So it was with trepidation that I settled down to watch it – and was pleasantly surprised.

Eagle vs Shark is the story of Lily (Horsley), an awkward, lonely woman who lives with her brother (Tobeck) and works in a fast food restaurant called Meaty Boy (see what I mean). With nothing better to do, she begins to fantasise about one of the regulars who, like Lily, has a mole above his lip. Just like her. This must be a sign.

Jarrod (Clement) isn’t interested in the weird mole girl. Even when she offers him free fries. He’s more interested in her pretty co-worker. But Lily plucks up the courage to go to Jarrod’s video game showdown party (dress code: come as your favourite animal) and gets his attention when her avatar Dangerous Person proves to be surprisingly good at video games. They begin a tenuous relationship and she agrees with her brother to drive Jarrod home, where he plans to face his high school nemesis. Having been sacked, Lily decides to stay on and help Jarrod with his fight training.

Jarrod is all mouth and no trousers; desperate to impress, he’s terrified to be himself. He doesn’t think Lily is good enough for him, and swiftly dumps her; unfortunately there isn’t a bus til the weekend so Lily stays on, sleeping in the garden and getting on surprisingly well with Jarrod’s family of eccentrics and oddballs, which in turn makes Jarrod jealous. With his big fight coming up, he can’t afford to be thinking about Lily…

Eagle vs Shark has the potential to be incredibly annoying but somehow manages not to be. Largely, I think, due to the character of Lily and the dead-pan, hilarious performances. Lily is really odd but there’s something compelling about her. She lacks confidence, but at the same time isn’t afraid to be herself and stand up for what she believes in. She has amazing faith in people and her attitude is always positive, despite the fact that people are really mean to her. By the end of the film Lily awakens all sorts of protective impulses, and you really want her to be happy.

All the performances are outstanding, but the two leads are marvellous. Jarrod is really annoying – frankly, he’s a bit of an arse – all the worst male traits wrapped in one horrid bundle. He’s aggressively bombastic and massively insecure, a self-obsessed commitment-phobe. But Lily somehow sees past all this to the kernel of decent human being inside, and her grit and sweetness in turn impress him.

Put it this way; if you can’t get tickets for Bourne this weekend, you could do a lot worse than Eagle vs Shark.

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