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Eagle vs. Shark

(2007) * 1/2 R
87 min. Miramax Films. Director: Taika Waititi. Cast: Loren Horsley, Brian Sergent, Rachel House, Craig Hall, Joel Tobeck.
In the case of Eagle vs. Shark, the crime in question is plagiarism. New Zealand director Taika Waititi brought his short film "Two Cars, One Night" to Sundance the same year that Napoleon Dynamite made a splash there. Both films feature surly outcasts whose insecurities prompt them to be unreasonably boastful about their competitive skills. Waititi even replicates Napoleon Dynamite's stylistic pilfering from the oeuvre of Wes Anderson. If you can get past the glaring similarities, you'll have to face the fact that it's very difficult to invest in these characters. Lily (Loren Horsley) and Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) play out a misfit, abusive romance that's as disturbing as it is sweet, and though there is humor in how tacky and pathetic everyone is, there's no getting around the overly familiar material.
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