A Kiwi nerd love story and loopy portrait of Down Under underachievers, Eagle vs. Shark offers a deadpan take on family, friendship, obsession and self-delusion.
That New Zealand writer-director Taika Waititi's little flick is staged against a backdrop of tacky mini-malls, Maori worship halls, and scruffy seaside towns with spectacular landscapes - and that funny stop-motion animation pieces with apples and ants show up now and again - makes it all the more nuttily charming.
A hit at the Philadelphia Film Festival, Eagle vs. Shark traces the unlikely romance between a gawky fast-food-chain cashier, Lily (Loren Horsley), and a bespectacled game-store clerk, Jarrod (Jemaine Clement, of HBO's similarly daft Flight of the Conchords). He's impressed by her video combat skills, she's impressed by his brooding vibe, and maybe his Prince Valiant coif. Jarrod thinks he's the coolest thing going, and apparently, inexplicably, Lily thinks so, too.