A fairy tale based on the true story of Eddie Edwards, a bespectacled, milk-swilling loser who sets out to win the 1988 Winter Olympics by refusing to let various unpleasant realities have any bearing on his pure, shatter-proof dream of simply competing in the Games. (A few samples: a naysaying father, a doubly naysaying English Olympic committee, a generally uncooperative body, a drunken has-been for a coach, a lack of experience in his chosen event of ski jumping...the list goes on.) Taron Egerton doesn’t have to do much but grin and grimace to convey Edwards’s “too dumb to know when he’s beat” charm; the more interesting work is left to Hugh Jackman as the old-timer who coulda been something. (He lands somewhere between Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers and Jason Sudeikis in Race: a respectable showing.) Director Dexter Fletcher knows that it takes a delicate touch to serve up corn this sweet, and he mostly manages it. For every easy, eye-rolling bit, there’s a moment of genuine emotion; the champion jumper’s pre-climax speech on what matters in sport is downright joyful. (2016)
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