Comedy is subjective. That being said, there are quite a few comedies that I can’t get behind. I love to laugh, but I feel that quality comedies are hard to find in recent years. What tends to come out these days are horrible examples of pandering unoriginality – with only a few exceptions. And where does Netflix’s latest Will Ferrel flick Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga fit? Eeehhhhh… It’s different. It’s actually quite funny at times.
Will Ferrel plays Lars Erickssong, and Rachel McAdams plays Sigrit Ericksdottir. They are Fire Saga, an aspiring singing duo from Iceland whose biggest dream is to compete in the annual Eurovision music contest and win big time. But as the two pursue their dream and miraculously make it further and further towards being finalists, their relationship becomes strained as more obstacles get in their way.
Even though this is the most obvious advertisement for Eurovision—the movie was supposed to be released around the time of the contest before it was canceled this year due to coronavirus—, I have to say that I enjoy the original concept. It’s not your run-of-the-mill suburban comedy set in America. It’s got captivating settings. I mean, a story that revolves around Eurovision of all things should be a recipe for some interesting scenarios. Although, I would argue that they could’ve gone farther in pushing the weirdness.
And although the “trying to win a contest” plot sets this movie up for a bunch of cliches and some of the conflicts seemed a little forced, I think that the story does some creative things with where it goes. Even so, the story isn’t all that captivating and didn’t do a whole lot for me.
The movie is also about a half-hour too long (120 minutes in all, which is lengthy for a comedy). At one point, it seemed like the film was coming to an end… but then it didn’t. It had about thirty minutes left. I thought it was poor plot structure on the filmmaker’s part.
However, I will say that I thought this movie was funny, which should be, it’s the main goal, right? Like I said at the beginning, comedy is subjective, and I’ve actually heard from other people that they didn’t think this movie was that funny at all, which is fine. My favorite comedy is Hot Rod, and I know not a lot of people think that movie is funny either (for some reason). Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga is closer to my flavor of comedy. Although I didn’t think it was the most hilarious thing I’d seen, it got some good laughs out of me. I think the pacing of the jokes was a little awkward at the beginning, but it got a lot better as the film continued.
Dan Stevens plays Alexander Lemtov, and he’s an interesting character. He’s a dashingly handsome Russian singer who is also competing in the contest. You could say that he’s sort of a villain in the film, but he’s more of an egotistical guy who gets in-between Lars and Sigrit’s relationship and puts too much value on wealth and fame. It’s interesting how he doesn’t even wish any evil towards the main characters; he just really likes Sigrit and it shows.
Pierce Brosnan plays Will Ferrel’s father. It took a while for me to get used to seeing him as an old, Icelandic man. But eventually, it’s surprising how he disappears into the role and I forgot that it was him.
The one aspect that I didn’t like about this film was the music. The score was forgettable, and the songs sung in this movie were bad. Since it’s a movie about singers and a singing competition, they tried to turn it into a musical of sorts. And, aside from the more comical ones sung by the main characters, most of the songs sung by other contestants were unoriginal, underwhelming pop songs. There’s a moment where they’re all hanging out at a party and they suddenly break into a “sing-along.” It’s the weirdest and most out-of-place scene in the movie and really only served as a vehicle for cameos of past Eurovision contestants.
The cinematography is not bad. Most modern comedies are pretty bland in their cinematography and don’t often utilize a lot of creativity, but I like how this film allows its scenes to breathe and has good framing as well as color-grading. I also appreciated how they showed off the beautiful scenery of Iceland.
This film has its ups and downs, but it’s mostly enjoyable and isn’t a waste of time. Overall, it’s a funny flick without a large amount of substance to it.
Episode 011 | Say Goodnight Kevin Podcast
Tyler Smith, film critic, podcast host, and director of the film “Reel Redemption”, joins Kevin for an exciting conversation about the history of Christian film and the state it is in today.