Eagle vs. Shark: Kiwis Find Love in All the Wrong Places

From across the international date line (New Zealand) comes a wonderfully weird, wry romance where the hearts, as well as the drains, seem to run backward. Unhappy food-court employee Lily falls for retail dweeb Jarrod in the worst possible way; her insane, pursed-mouth ardor seems to blind her to his every fault. And there are many. A braggart and bully, he speaks with the deadpan Zen utterances of tough-guy behavior that could only have been learned from '80s American TV shows. ("Dammit, I'm too complex," he growls while rebuffing her.) Only gradually does writer-director Taika Waititi take us outside the ugly malls and tract homes to reveal bits of New Zealand's coastal beauty. His two off-puttingly charming leads (Jemaine Clement, half of the comedy-music duo Flight of the Conchords, and Loren Horsley) undergo something of the same slow inner discovery as they travel to Jarrod's hometown on a mission of revenge. Interspersed are rustic stop-motion animation sequences that would be cloying if they didn't suggest how things hidden and magical can lurk in the least likely places.

 
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