Sundance Review: Eagle vs Shark
by Alex Billington
January 29, 2007
Eagle vs Shark, which is being distributed and released in June from Miramax, is a quirky and eccentric romantic comedy involving two rather socially awkward people set in New Zealand. The film is a New Zealand version of Napoleon Dynamite, with the same stupid humor and nerdy, awkward characters but doesn't feel at all like a copy in any way. It's consistently playful with itself and doesn't spend too much time on developing an overly complicated story. The title actually comes from an animal themed party that Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) hosts, where he dresses up as an eagle and Lily (Loren Horsley), who falls in love with Jarrod, dresses up as a shark.
It's great to see an internationally created sweet love story that isn't the fake Hollywood-style relationships with flawless actors and unpredictable and unrealistic happenings. The best part of Eagle vs Shark is the shirts that they wear, especially Jarrod and his friend Mason (Cohen Holloway) - every single one is a hilarious nerdy shirt that you'd never actually see in public, but that's what makes it so great (including one that Mason wears that just says "bugger!" in big letters across the front). Even the music is a perfect fit for its 80s-like out-of-style setting. The film is a mix of Little Miss Sunshine, a New Zealand Napoleon Dynamite, and any other nerdy stuck-in-the-80's hilarious comedies you can think of. It's quirky with some odd bits of stop animation with an apple core, but an all around fulfilling film. I'm looking forward to seeing the reaction that this will have in America and whether it will be played off as another Napoleon Dynamite repeat or something just as original.
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