Monday, June 18, 2007

Eagle vs. Shark

"Eagle vs. Shark" is a New Zealand film in the new "genre" of geek comedy, most often identified with Napoleon Dynamite. In fact, I've yet to read a review of the film that doesn't reference Napoleon Dynamite, and while I hate easy comparisons, there really is little to say about this film except that it's Napoleon grown-up meeting a girl. Or, rather, it's the story of a geeky girl who meets a grown-up Napoleon, since the story is told through her point of view. Thankfully, I think, since she is a much more endearing character, although possibly if we spent more time with him, it would have seemed more balanced - no, stop. I really don't think I'd want to spend more time with his character, who was stiff and awkward and anti-social and flat-out weird to the point of being unlikeable. Did I mention this is a romantic comedy? And that we're supposed to root for geek love? I wonder if I were the only one in the theater hoping she'd walk away from his self-absorbed juvenile ass.

The trailers to this film give away most of the "romantic" interchanges between the couple, and lead you to believe it really is all about the love. But beyond all that is an interesting glimpse into a nontraditional dysfunctional-yet-oddly-functional family. (Two, actually. The main character Lily and her brother have a deliciously offbeat family life, from the overflowered living room it wouldn't occur to them to redecorate since their mum's death, to the goofy movie impersonations they use to express affection for each other.) But it's the male character Jarrod's family who we spend most of the film with, as does Lily, and while there are the usual stereotypical touches (saintly dead brother, grieving father, gawky cute little girl), they were, to me, far more interesting than the son they were supposedly "supporting" characters for.

Jarrod is played by one of the leads in the new HBO series "Flight of the Conchords", which premiered last night. I haven't yet watched it, but if Jermaine Clement's other characters are anything like Jarrod, I don't know if I'll like it very much.


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