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Eagle vs Shark, a brilliant comedy from New Zealand director Taika Waititi, is the story of Lily, played by Loren Horsley, a socially awkward woman who works at a fast food restaurant called Meaty Boy. Lily harbors a major crush on equally awkward Jarrod, played to perfection by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords.
Lily finally becomes a part of Jarrod’s world after proving her skill at a Mortal-Kombat-style video game called Fight Man played at his animal theme party. After the two hook up at the party, Jarrod reveals that he is secretly training to fight a bully who used to pick on him years ago in school.
The two travel to Jarrod’s home town for the battle when friction caused by Jarrod’s family causes a rift in their budding romance. Jarrod continues his intensive training regime while Lily fights off loneliness by bonding with his family. The two are reunited on the day of the big fight when Jarrod (and the audience) learn a hilarious surprise about the former bully.
The film plays like a New Zealand version of Napoleon Dynamite with amped up awkwardness and stellar performances all around. Horsley and Clement capture every nuance of geek-ness and the supporting cast keeps the bar set high for the film.
You could cut the awkwardness with a knife in the scene when Jarrod is consulting his “computer hacker” friend Mason (Cohen Halloway) about the bully as Mason’s computer screen slowly fills up with pop up windows advertising porn sites. The giggles erupting from Lily when her brother Damien (Joel Tobeck) launches into his celebrity voice impressions give a genuine sweetness to the nerdy characters. These people are all weird, but you love them. That kind of good-hearted awkwardness makes the film so delightful to watch.
Eagls vs Shark is now available on DVD, great news for those who weren’t able to catch it in it’s limited theatrical run.