Released: 26th July
Seen: 8th August
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the greatest and strangest things that we, as a society, have ever put together. A competition show like no other, it’s where Abba became world famous and it’s regularly known for having the weirdest and wildest acts to ever be put on the stage. It’s one of those things that’s so perfectly weird that it seems like it should be almost impossible to parody, making jokes about Eurovision is a little bit like putting a hat on a hat but Will Ferrell certainly tried and what he ended up with was… interesting.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga tells the story of the icelandic group Fire Saga that consists of two members, Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (Rachel McAdams) who may be related by Lars’ father Erick Erickssong (Pierce Brosnan) but there’s no way of knowing, unless you look at their last names and catch the joke. Fire Saga might be one of the worst bands in Iceland and yet still get chosen to go to the Eurovision Song Contest where they probably won’t win the actual contest, but they might still make an impact on the viewers and that’s all that matters right?
To say that this film is hit or miss would be the understatement of the year, it’s more like specks of pure gold surrounded by layers of sludge. At a taxing two hours, every joke in this film is a coin toss on if it’s going to make you laugh or long for a Netflix outage so everything’ll stop and you can escape. A lot of Lar’s jokes are… well, standard Will Farrell jokes where he yells the lines in a grating accent and that’s how we determine where the jokes are. I honestly don’t think I laughed once at Will because, at this point, I’ve seen his schtick so many times that I’m numb to it. Luckily, he has Rachel McAdam’s to bounce off of and her innocent sweet Sigrit really ends up stealing every scene she’s in, actually giving the film some genuine emotional weight.
The film itself is mostly a romcom between Lars and Sigrit, with a trace of Lars wanting his father’s approval in there for good measure. For the most part it kinda works, the big emotional climax managed to get a smile out of me and you do kind of root for them, at least you root for Sigrit to get what she wants which just happens to be Lars even though the entire film you kind of wonder what she sees in him since he’s constantly yelling or being a general pain in the ass.
As for the comedy… again, hit or miss. Some jokes work, a whole bunch of them don’t. What stunned me was that most of the music is just being played dead straight with the notable exception of Jaja Ding Dong which is just full of cheap dick jokes. Honestly, I kinda wish that the Fire Saga music kept to that style, they just keep accidentally making obvious innuendo while everyone else looks on in horror. That might’ve been interesting but nope, the rest of the music is average mid-tier Eurovision. If you’re going to do this, why not push all the way and make some jokes while we’re at it?
I’m willing to admit that a part of my feelings about this could just be boiled down to “I’m obscenely bored with Will Farrell’s schtick” and seeing him do it again with no change of any kind has rendered the charm that is there moot but even without that, it’s still too long and takes too long to get to the good bits. The musical numbers are fine and all, in particular the Song-A-Long that was a lot of fun even though it could basically just be used as a commercial for Eurovision on its own, but I can’t begin to think of a reason to watch this film again. It’s fine, I guess, but with a subject matter as fascinating at Eurovision I just want so much more than “Fine”.