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Eagle vs Shark


Stars: Jemaine Clement, Loren Horsley, Brian Sergent, Joel Tobeck, Rachel House, Craig Hall

Director: Taika Waititi

A quirky New Zealand comedy about two nervous, low-IQ oddballs who precariously embark on a relationship. Jarrod (Clement) and Lily (Horsley) have moles on their upper lips and chips on their shoulders. He's a nerd's nerd, she's a disliked server at a fast food bar.

Jarrod has a thick complexion, even thicker hair and thick glasses. But Lily fancies him, and he is a video fightgame champ. As for her, when fully made up, she resembles a man in drag. Gatecrashing his 'animal' videogame party crudely dressed as a shark, she looks like Morgan le Fay. Asked to invent a 'game name' for herself, she can think of nothing better than 'dangerous person'.

However she does beat everyone there, then lets Jarrod, who's dressed as an eagle, win the final. The unlikely lovers have sex, then he asks her to accompany him on a trip to his home town, where he gets into training to beat up a guy who bullied him at school.

There are quite a few deliberately weird but quite funny moments here, but they tend to get fewer as the plot progresses, and the film shows disturbing signs of wanting to be lyrical and lovable as well as funny. Rather than have quirkiness stemming from their characters, its protagonists seem to have quirkiness thrust upon them. Still, it's one of a kind for those who enjoy that sort of thing for its own sake.

David Quinlan

New Zealand 2006. UK Distributor: The Works. Fujicolor.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 12 Aug 2007