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.
Horsley and Clement camp amid the whimsy.
Eagle vs. Shark
Opens at Harvard Exit, Fri., June 22. Rated R. 93 minutes.