Eddie the Eagle – Natural Born Pranksters -April 1st 2016 releases – REVIEW

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Natural  Born Pranksters

For those old enough to remember an old TV series called ‘Candid Camera’ where gentle japes were played on unsuspecting members of the public which evolved over the years on TV with ‘Game for a laugh’ and ultimately ‘Beadles (unfortunately) About’ and reached its zenith with the MTV series ‘Jackass’. Jackass was something of a phenomenon and took the format by the scruff of the neck and performed some outrageous stunts with the performers usually the butt of their own frat boy humour. Inevitably they transferred the format  to feature film where each made successively more money than the last – highly unusual in the world of ever diminishing returns for sequels.

And then came the internet and YouTube where it seems every dim wit, numb nut with any half arse lame idea could go out and film their own ‘jokes’. Apparently the biggest You Tube stars for this are three boys called Roman, Vitaly & Dennis with millions of subscribers to their channels of allegedly hilarious pranks on the public. So successful are they that they’ve now been given a movie for an even wider audience to endure what they regard as funny. Much like Jackass movies this is episodic and featuring  some behind the scenes footage as they plan there pranks before they are enacted as the comic clowns of crap watch offscreen sniggering at how clever they think they are. To set the tone and the level of humour for much of the rest of the film the first prank features one of the boys wearing an attachment under a waist worn towel as he’s given a massage which, when triggered looks like he’s developing an erection as a masseur massages him as we watch as all hilarity ensues…….or not.

The difference here is that with Jackass it was nearly always Johnny Knoxville and his crew who were the butt of their own jokes but with NBK it’s nearly always the public and at times it makes grim viewing with a couple of the jokes easily being construed as being either homophobic or racist. At one point a member of the public finds himself in a physically threatening situation as an LA street gang accuse him of sleeping with his girlfriend and in an effort to protect himself he has to blurt out that he is gay, another has customers at a Chinese restaurant thinking that the chef is killing dogs for the menu. This seems to be the product of over privileged white boys with little common sense and think that the at times extreme discomfort of others is the highest form of comedy. How wrong they are.  At least with YouTube you don’t have to pay to watch their alleged jokes. This really is a pretty terrible collection of lame pranks but there is a brief moment when one of their jokes involving a hoax bomb went very wrong and one of them got arrested on suspicion of terrorism related offences. It’s a shame that it wasn’t covered more extensively in the film. Seeing them go to the electric chair hopefully would have put an end to all this. Unfortunately none of these clips nd with the victim, relieved that it’s a prank bludgeoning them to death.

Though there is possibly one or two amusing moments the laugh out loud scenes are non-existent. It’s a pity that the title isn’t, ‘Natural Born Prankers’ , which at least would allow an audience to think its cockney rhyming for its stars.

 

Eddie the Eagle

Taron Egerton is something of a rising star having been in the smash hit ‘Kingsmen’ last year as well a smaller role in the Kray twins film ‘Legend’. A good looking lad with a good looking career so quite what the producers of this week’s new release were thinking of when they approached him about playing the goggle eyed gurner Eddie the Eagle  Edwards is anyone’s guess but it’s an inspired piece of casting

The story of Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards is well known as that of the heroic underdog at the Winter Olympics and it’s incredible to think that this was way back in 1988 almost 30 years ago. The film follows him from a boy right through to his self funded attempts to qualify with the British Olympic committee seemingly trying everything to prevent him from qualifying and representing the UK led by an enjoyably snooty Tim McInnerny only to find that jut jawed japery by Edwards puts the crowd and TV audiences on his side.

If ever there was a story of battling against all the odds this is one of the best with just about everyone including his own father played in typical style by Keith Allen, to the Norwegian team who train at the same slope as him , the UK Olympic committee and even his fellow competitors against him . It’s only when a washed up American alcoholic ex ski jumper played in rock n roll style by Hugh Jackman begins to train him that things start to take off  for him.

The story is too well known to not know the ending but this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser with Egerton  in jaw jutting genius mode as Edwards making him likable and sympathetic  and there are  laugh out loud moments that eclipse recent alleged comedies (‘Zoolander 2’ we mean you!). Kitted out in his best C&A ski wear which shows you how old the story is Egerton has gone full out to get the look with the bottle bottom, aviator shaped glasses and a jaw so prominent that it is in danger of knocking over the other skiers. This is as uplifting a British film as we’ve had in years and is hilarious even when Edwards pronounces , ‘ I take jumping seriously’,  you can’t help but grin.

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