‘Eddie the Eagle’ is irresistible

by Richard Roeper

The reason I’m hardly likely to be the only reviewer to say “Eddie the Eagle” is “Rudy” on the ski slopes is because “Eddie the Eagle” is “Rudy” on the ski slopes.

With more than a dash of “Cool Runnings” to boot.

“Rudy” was a fictionalized, unapologetically sentimental, undeniably inspirational story about an undersized, overachieving, irritatingly upbeat underdog who was doggedly determined to make the Notre Dame football team and perhaps even get into a game, even though everyone from his own father to his peers to his coaches told him he was a dreamer and it would never happen.

“Eddie the Eagle” is a fictionalized, unapologetically sentimental, undeniably inspirational story about an undersized, overachieving, irritatingly upbeat underdog who was doggedly determined to make the British Olympics as a ski jumper, even though everyone from his own father to his peers to Olympic officials told him he was a dreamer and it was never going to happen.

Taron Egerton gives a winning performance as Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an irrepressible sort with oversized glasses that never seem to quite fit on his face, a mustache accurate to the 1980s setting and the bounce-back capabilities of one of those wobble punching bags with the weighted bottoms.

After failing to make the British downhill skiing team, Eddie sets his sights on ski jumping, even though he has zero experience in the sport and the Brits didn’t even have a ski jumping team. Through a quirk in the rule book, if Eddie lands a minimum-qualifying jump in a sanctioned meet: He’s an Olympian! When he does just that, he’s off to Germany to train for the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Some of the stuff about Eddie trying to earn the respect of his father, and Bronson seeking the approval of his father figure, goes over the top, around the bend and over the top again.

Still, you couldn’t resist “Rudy” and you’re not going to be able to resist “Eddie the Eagle.” These guys are champions. Rated PG-13.

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