Eagle vs Shark

Year: 2007
Production Co: Unison Films
Director: Taika Waititi
Producer: Cliff Curtis
Writer: Loren Horsley
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Loren Horsley

The reason The Castle made such an impression was because in an era where we like to think of ourselves as urbane and sophisticated, most of us knew someone just like the Kerrigans - or grew up just like them. In the same way, Eagle vs Shark picks lovable fun at the decidedly daggy way of life of uncool people who just want to get through their little lives.

Lily (Horsley, who also wrote the script) is just gorgeous, so vulnerable, trusting and innocent you can't help but be taken in by her big, childlike eyes. She knows when life is screwing her but wouldn't dream of rocking the boat by standing up for herself. She works a crappy job she doesn't really mind at a cheap fast food restaurant and loves her brother Damon to bits, a lovable dag just like her who keeps her amused with impressions.

Mostly Lily dreams of catching the heart of the dark and mysterious Jarrod (Clement), who works nearby but who we soon discover is a self-important, immature buffoon. There doesn't seem any possible way these misfits can see eye to eye but Lily follows Jarrod to his hometown to stay with his family while he trains for an 'important mission'. In reality all he wants to do is have a fight with the old school bully in a public park, and styles himself a conflicted ninja warrior in the process. Watching him kick the ground in frustration and curse 'I'm so complex' is easily as funny as 'tell him he's dreamin'.

When they arrive, things go pear shaped and watching Lily try and hold it together when she just wants to go home is heartbreaking. But Jarrod has bigger fish to fry - he has to make sure his nemesis knows Justice is coming. Rather than Justin...

After going through the Sundance system the film was picked up for release in the big northern markets by Miramax and probably would have ended up another cheap forgotten Australasian comedy, which would have been a shame. Clement shows the comic chops that's carried him right through Flight of the Conchords and despite a languid, even stilted pace, it's a lot of laughs.

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