12 June 2008 | loganx-2
Not Exactly Fresh, but Quite Good
Eagle Vs. Shark is a quirky comedy from New Zealand, with "Flight Of The Conchords" Jermaine Clement, and a cast of unknowns.
It's a very funny film, with some good directing and a decent score. My only quip is it feels like it's been done before...(read more)e. The wall paper and tapestries remind instantly of that legendary Garden State scene, there's animation of the Michel Gondry arts and crafts vein, a little blonde girl who very much resembles a certain Little Miss Sunshine, a leading man doing his best Napolean Dynamite, and a leading lady playing a dotting, kind hearted, quite woman ala Miranda July in "Me and You etc". Yes there all here including a soundtrack of obligatory indie pop, I heard a Devandra Banheart cover of "Body Breaks".
That being said, the movie works. It's funny, painfully awkward, mean, and consistently goofy. Loren Horsley gives a terrific performance as "Lily" the films hero, who is at the beginning of the film for reasons never clearly expressed absolutely in love with clueless uber-loser Jarred. The two get together at an Animal Dress up party, and all's well until Lily discovers Jarred is planning to get revenge on a man who bullied him in high school (which seems to be his only really coherent thought). So its off to Jarred's home town, and uncertain revenge and love.
Jarred is ridiculously unlikable, and Lily has the loving patience of a saint, it's the sheer awkwardness of the performances which make any of this believable, the little ticks like the compulsive lying, the monotone speech, awkward stance, clothes, droll humor. The performers really drive home the story well which in the hands of others could have been God awful.
Though writer/director Taika Cohen has borrowed a lot of elements from other films working in similar fields, he does so naturally, with a poise, grace, and nerdiness, left out of a lot of the quirky, funny, hip, indie rom-coms. Nothing brilliant, but a solid comedy, that plays better to absurd than it does thoughtful, but I laughed all the way through, and would recommend to others, if it sounds like the thing for you. It's pluses easily beat out it's minuses.
I'm not really into actors, or following "the stars', but Loren Horsley's performance here was really kind of enchanting, and I would definitely be interested in seeing her again. "I am...Dangerous Person..."