Eddie The Eagle Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley. Directed by Dexter Fletcher. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday citywide.
Michael “Eddie” Edwards has lived a fascinating life, including an improbable appearance at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, where he represented Great Britain in ski jumping despite having only taken up the sport two years earlier (he came in dead last). The quirky, bespectacled Edwards (nicknamed “The Eagle”) became a pop-culture sensation and is still a minor celebrity in his home country.
You can learn all of that from Edwards’ Wikipedia page, and it would probably make for a great documentary. But the creators of heavily fictionalized biopic Eddie the Eagle (starring Taron Egerton as Edwards) must not have thought it was interesting enough, since they’ve molded Edwards’ underdog sports story into a sappy, contrived, self-consciously wacky family comedy, complete with an entirely fictional American coach played by Hugh Jackman. The movie is phonier and more manipulative than the prefab backstory video packages that air during the actual Olympics, and it doesn’t even have the advantage of showcasing the real guy.