Now available to stream on Netflix is this odd dive into the odder realm of the Eurovision Song Contest. All the world’s a stage for this unison of music starting to try and rebuild relations throughout a post-war torn Europe. However, with the minds of Anchorman and Wedding Crashers behind the curtains, how does this contest, that many pretend they don’t secretly enjoy, get spoofed in such a way that elicits no laughter?
Ever since he was a child, Lars Ericksson (Will Ferrell) found solace and joy in the Eurovision Song Contest and so did his friend and maybe-sister Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams), much to the dismay of his father Erick (Pierce Brosnan). Now they band together in a dream to take part in the contest but can they remain close enough to make the most of their chance for stardom on such a grand platform?
As a rule for the British, Eurovision is a staple part of big TV watching and falls in either “this is my guilty pleasure” side of thinking or “this is a cringe waste of time” and yet both smash into each other in such a wonderful, madcap way that encapsulates the majesty of a show we always know we won’t win again, but there’s fun to be had in seeing many countries compete and see our dreams dashed annually! So, knowing that Americans are behind such a European hotbed of cheese and glitz could be a worry that they don’t get what it’s all about.
Gladly this 2020 release doesn’t fall on too much slapstick or crass humour and possesses a surprising amount of respect to a show that is hilarious to explain to anyone that hasn’t set eyes upon it before. The comedy doesn’t always hit the mark but there’s heart to get wrapped up in certain points and come the grand finale sequence, a song dowsed in Nordic roots becomes way more impacting and possibly stirring that I’d have imagined.
The biggest issue this film has is in the doldrums of its length. The comedy becomes wafer-thin at points and almost feels like a slog to get to the latter half of the saga. Considering how cliched the plot is; knowing exactly what beats will be hit and when, really does not stop you feeling like you’ve run a half-marathon by the time the final show comes to light. Even watching Jedward on the Euro-stage would inject more enjoyment into the early-to-middle section.
The Story of Fire Saga doesn’t really get into its groove until the semi finals when the buzz of the competition sparks up the screen with convincingly trashy yet catchy ear-worms. The likes of an alarming inclusion about scheming elves, a fun Dan Stevens and Graham Norton on top form playing his dry commenting self are good touches also. Before that there’s a fun little Pitch Perfect-esque singalong for diehard contest fans to spot past entries and I’d be remiss to say that there are a couple of tunes that you will likely listen to again.
The heritage and culture of Iceland may be mocked by stupid accents, none more so than Brosnan who seems to have had a delayed stop-over in Sweden but the heart of their hometown becomes like a weirdly Wild Rose style passionate performance come the end and even though it doesn’t quite enthrall or tickle the funny bone all the way through, there is just enough charm to prevent it gaining a famous nul point score….
….and hey if you need helping Making Your Mind Up, if nothing else the contest is held in Edinburgh, so we UK folks can revel in knowing we won in this film universe the year before; that’s the closest we’ll ever get.
Written by Troy Balmayer
STAR RATING –★★
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