Netflix Fix: No contest, 'Eagle vs Shark' is definitely weird

Luis Rendon

May 22, 2013 at 12:22 a.m.

Jarrod and Lily's strange courtship starts at an equally strange animal party.

Jarrod and Lily's strange courtship starts at an equally strange animal party.

We often categorize things that are weird or strange because they are alone in their behavior or essence. People who don't like pizza or ice cream are weird, or it's strange that people continue to buy Chris Brown albums. And yet, my best friend detests pizza, and music award shows continue to invite Chris Brown.

Being weird and strange isn't too bad as long as you have someone to be weird with.

That's the takeaway from the definitely weird and strange "Eagle vs Shark," an indie flick from New Zealand. Reminiscent of the original strange and weird movie, "Napoleon Dynamite," "Eagle vs Shark" (rated R, 92 minutes) is the story of two socially awkward adults who are trying to find their strange better half.

Lily isn't too strange off the bat; rather she's an outsider. She's eager and excited all the time, common symptoms of being a nerd, and is very much a pushover. At her fast-food job, customers actively avoid her, and her coworkers hold her in the lowest regards.

Paired with her parents' demise at the hands of twin heart attacks and heartache, her story is quite tragic. It's that reason that makes her brother's equally excitable and eager presence so great. They get to be weird together, indulging each other in awful impressions and musical abilities. You can see that even though life may not be the best for Lily, she's not a completely pathetic person.

That is, unless it comes to love. She's infatuated with Jarrod, a delusional soldier of all things awesome and righteous. He's cool because he says he is, no matter what anyone else says.

When they meet at an animal party - Lily as a shark, Jarrod as an eagle - Lily impresses him with her video game skills, and the romance is set into motion.

When Jarrod announces that he must take a trip to his hometown for a super important mission to exact revenge on an old high school tormentor, Lily comes along, and we start to see Jarrod come undone as the super hero he clearly is pretending to be.

We meet his entire family, including his father, who is still grieving the death of Jarrod's older brother - a superstar athlete who had the perfect fiance.

Because Jarrod is more interested in impressing his father than keeping Lily as a girlfriend, the relationship ends.

At first, Lily, being the pushover she is, accepts the dismissal. Maybe she was too weird and strange for Jarrod, who has made it clear that his mission is to be just as normal as his dead brother in the hopes of winning his father's approval and affection.

Through connections with Jarrod's family, she realizes her own potential and ends up being strong enough for both herself and Jarrod, who eventually breaks free from his emotionally stunted well-being.

There's lots of heavy-duty emotional stuff going on for such a small and quirky movie, but it never feels bloated or lagging. In the end, the movie works because it's as excited and eager as our two main characters are.

It's all weird, but it's OK because we're all weird together.



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