Movie Review: Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga
Rating: 2 Stars
Whenever his career comes to a close, Will Ferrell will be a fascinating case study. One may argue that either you love Ferrell movies or you hate them, but I would contend that Ferrell’s work varies. There are going to be movies you love (Anchorman) and hate (Elf, it’s just not for me I know you think I’m blasphemous), and there are also movies that are just going to be okay.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, is as middling as it gets when it comes to a comedy. It’s funny enough to not suck the life out of you and feel like a waste of time, but it doesn’t bring the hilarity that you’ve got to tell your friends, neighbors, and weed dealer about the day after you watch it.
I would be remiss to not mention that the title could’ve used two to five fewer words. Just like how Talladega Nights and Anchorman aren’t referred to by the rest of their title after the colon, this film will be referred to as Eurovision when referenced.
Ferrell said the idea for writing a movie about Eurovision has been festering from the moment he first got to see the show. Ferrell was onto something here but is perhaps fifteen years too late. The High School Musical and Glee generation has come and gone.
Ferrell is in his typical fashion of what you’ve seen is what you’ll get. Ferrell plays Lars Erickssong, socially inept, overgrown manchild, awkward yet endearing. Sound familiar?
Rachel McAdams would like to have a word in the typecast department though as she finds herself in yet another costar love interest role. Fortunately for McAdams, she has signature roles in dramas and thrillers to give herself a better range argument than Ferrell. McAdams plays Lars’ singing partner, Sigrit.
Neither McAdams nor Ferrell has a standout performance in Eurovision. Their best work is done when riffing off of each other.
The pseudo-antagonist role is owned by Dan Stevens who plays Alexander Lemtov in what a decade ago would’ve been the Ben Stiller role. Stevens even looks like a combination of Stiller’s characters in Zoolander and Dodgeball.
Eurovision begins with Lars as a child watching ABBA perform on Eurovision. Lars dances in front of the TV to the dismay of his father played by Pierce Brosnan looking like a grizzled old drunk Viking. It’s revealed from his youth that Lars’ mother is dead but that’s more of a weak plot device than anything substantial to the story.
Quickly the movie fast forwards to an adult Lars and Sigrit as they prepare for Eurovision. Their duo is Fire Saga. First, they have to be selected for Iceland’s national singing contest. Lars embarrasses himself by missing his cue to perform leaving Sigrit alone for the beginning of their duet. Lars finally makes the stage and slapstick humor ensues.
Through nefarious means, the other competitors who’d give Iceland a chance to win Eurovision including Demi Lovato as Katiana get The Dark Knight Rises boat treatment and Fire Saga are the only competitors left to send. Begrudgingly Iceland sends Fire Saga as their official Eurovision competitors.
My parents were the principal advocates for getting me to watch Eurovision. I was surprised initially by the two-hour run time. There easily could’ve been 30-minutes cut. My mother’s solution for that was to skip several filler scenes. I would normally never skip a scene but if my mother didn’t find the scene worth it, I highly doubt I would’ve enjoyed it.
Eurovision follows the predictable arc all love redemptive comedy flicks that star Ferrell, Sandler, and Stiller do.
One of the funniest scenes in Eurovision involves a recurring joke about Sigrit’s faith in elves. The elves come to Lars’ aid despite his lack of faith in them in a brutal but hilarious way.
Eurovision’s strength is in the musical numbers but it’s not anything that you haven’t seen on America’s Got Talent. There’s a joke written at the expense of The Voice. There’s also mediocre humor involving ghosts and Americans. The joke writing needed refinement.
Ferrell’s image of Eurovision wasn’t going to have narrative depth so it needed to excel on the spectacle end. Ultimately, Eurovision was fine. Acceptable. But not special. Ferrell’s story would’ve been better spent focusing on the actual Eurovision contest rather than telling a character-driven love story.