Will Ferrell as Lars Erickssong
Written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Review
There’s a scene in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga in which Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, who play Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir (probably not related), dressed in angel wings, jump on stage to perform their big musical number in front of the world. Because it’s a comedy, the situation goes awry and ends with Lars toppling to the stage in one of Ferrell’s patented fits.
Your enjoyment of David Dobkin’s new Netflix comedy depends on your reaction to that specific sequence. Either you still get a kick out of watching a scantily clad Ferrell shout hysterically while performing pratfalls, or you’ve moved on.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed Ferrell’s antics. And so, I enjoyed this goofy adventure even if it felt a little overlong and never reached the heights of the comedian’s best work, namely Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy or Blades of Glory.
Eurovision follows a similar path to the latter in that it begins with a child yearning to perform in a ridiculous competition; and follows his crazy path to stardom. In this case, Lars and Sigrit, two Icelandic friends, long to take center stage and win the Eurovision Song Contest. Of course, neither is very good at singing nor performing as evidenced by an early scene in which the duo performs a ballad on a Casio piano in Lars’ basement, much to the chagrin of Lars’ father Erick (Pierce Brosnan, who never ages). But each is ignorant/innocent enough to believe they have what it takes to really soar.
When a chance opportunity presents itself — a person on the Eurovision committee literally closes his eyes and points at their names — Lars and Sigrit travel to the big show and incur the usual plot beats found in other films of this ilk — i.e., asshole producers, horny groupies, and token villains who want to see the would-be couple fail.
It’s all in good fun, of course, but far too routine. We’ve seen this same song and dance numerous times before in better films. If anything, the production, like a lot of Ferrell’s recent endeavors, feels lazy. As though the producers decided that dropping the actor into another outrageous scenario would naturally produce fireworks, even with a relatively weak script (co-written by Ferrell) that takes zero chances.
Still, there are fun moments scattered about, such as the bit where Lars and Sigrit shout “Shit” so loudly it causes an avalanche. Lars and Sigrit’s second performance on stage also results in some big laughs — again, depending on whether you think this whole situation is funny. And the big musical numbers (of which there are many) that hilariously riff on those stupid “America’s Got Talent” shows are well designed and executed.
I also enjoyed Rachel McAdams, who has long demonstrated her comedic chops in films like Wedding Crashers and Game Night. The actress goes full-on comedy here and fits the material well. Whether someone of her caliber deserves to be dragged around on stage and thrown to the floor in violent fashion is up for debate.
This type of high concept comedy is tricky to pull off. Blades of Glory pulled off the endeavor better than most and managed to take the concept of two male ice skaters and turn it into a consistently hilarious comedy that went far and above its basic premise. Eurovision attempts the same feat, but can’t decided where to go with its topic of choice. As a brief SNL sketch, the concept works. As a two-plus hour film? Eh … it works in droves.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Ferrell, you’ll likely enjoy Eurovision’s outlandish theatrics. It doesn’t rank up there with the actor’s best, but it’s certainly better than the likes of Holmes & Watson.