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Eagle Vs. Shark

Eagle Vs. Shark

Director:Taika Waititi
Cast:Loren Horsley, Jemaine Clement, David Fane
Release Date:2007

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 2/6/2008

THE MOVIE Plain, awkward Lily (the stunning Loren Horsley, convincingly affecting a graceless posture) occupies the lowest rung on the burger joint's social ladder. She dreams of Jarrod (Jemaine Clement, looking like a young and ugly Donald Fagen), who lives to get revenge on high-school bully Eric (David Fane, your standard Samoan heavy). Lily crashes Jarrod's costume party dressed as a shark and slyly lets him defeat her for the annual Fight Man video-game championship. That leads inexplicably to "six," which is sex in New Zealandese.

All of this sets the scene for an amusingly cringe-worthy stranding of the couple in Jarrod's desolate hometown, where his family marks miserable time in the shadow of his nonloser brother's suicide while Jarrod "trains" for his big fight. Clement, who is also half of the übergeek songwriting duo on HBO's Flight of the Conchords, works the flat affect and wannabe cage-fighter shtick for every drop of humor in it. Awkward silences and bizarre stop-action animation fill in the rest, milking all the hilarity that's possible out of the helpless, hopeless tick-tick-ticking down of wasted lives. If you so much as glance up distractedly, you'll see several of the plot twists coming, but you probably won't spot one of them, and it's funny.

THE DISC Despite advertised 5.1 surround sound, the sound balance was weird, the dialogue lower than music to a noticeable extent. The extras are a forgettable mix of deleted scenes, slightly funny outtakes, and one rather droning music video by the Phoenix Foundation, a Kiwi band that scored the movie and appears to specialize in drone of the Pink Floyd variety. There is the now-standard director's commentary, something big fans of Taika Waititi might find instructive, but nothing to match, say, the in-character commentary Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean spew over the This Is Spinal Tap special-edition DVD. Then again, nothing beats that.

E-mail Edward Ericson Jr.

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