Eagle vs. Shark (R)

Review Date: June 15th, 2007

It's best to stay out of this fight. Just let Eagle vs. Shark kill each other and spare us all the aggravation.


Lily (Loren Horsley) is a frumpy little weirdo working at a fast food joint who everyone makes fun of. But she may have met her soul mate in Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), a sarcastic, constantly annoyed slacker. At a costume party where she comes as a shark and he as an eagle, she wows him with her video game skills. They start dating, but Jarrod becomes obsessed with fighting an old high school bully. His crusade tears them apart, while Lily is stuck watching Jarrod's train wreck of a life. The whole movie feels like a bad rip off of Napoleon Dynamite. It's the idea of seeing weird characters in otherwise banal situations, only it really is just weird and banal. These slackers don't say clever things. They just complain. The climactic fight pays off in a somewhat funny way but since the characters are so repulsive, it's hard to muster any excitement.


On the other hand, the actors do their jobs well. It's not their fault they've been asked to play boring, annoying losers. Horsley does her best to bring sympathy to Lily. She offers a loyal, loving partner who just gets screwed by a loser guy. But she's so good at playing pathetic, it overpowers anything else, so you really don't care if she hooks up with him or not. Clement goes all out. His random outbursts seem to come from a real place, though they are still utterly random. Perhaps with more inventive material, these two could really do something. Jarrod's family is filled with supporting actors who fill in other oddball traits, making Jarrod's behavior a definite inherited condition. They're even a little more sympathetic than Jarrod because they at least know Jarrod is messing up his only chance for a good relationship.


Perhaps we've been spoiled by slacker characters who have profound observations about the world. New Zealand writer/director Taika Cohen is trying to emulate the oddball tone of a Napoleon Dynamite, combined with the slacker attitudes of a Clerks, but none of those films' endearments or wry social commentary come through in Eagle vs. Shark. On top of it, the film looks like a school project. Maybe it's trendy for indie films to adapt this style, but sometimes, it draws more attention to the incompetence of the filmmakers. Cohen thinks he's clever and revels in his creation, lingering on moments that just don't play. But honestly, you won't want to pay to spend 90 minutes with these people.

Bottom Line

Hollywood.com rated this film 1 star.