EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA (2020)
3* (No spoilers)
What a peculiar event for Hollywood to make a movie out of, I didn't think Americans even knew what Eurovision was. It turns out producer/star Will Ferrell was introduced to the contest by his Swedish wife and immediately became a fan. Like most of Ferrell's films, I thought this was pretty mediocre.
Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play an unpopular Icelandic pop-duo with dreams of winning Eurovision and making Iceland (and Ferrall's father, Pierce Brosnan) proud. It's a pretty standard underdog story, there's nothing new here. But there are emotional beats within the film which are overly-sentimental at times which becomes confusing as you try to separate drama from comedy. It's as if the film is confused about what genre it is; a drama that wants to be a comedy or a comedy that wants to be a drama.
The casting of McAdams (not really known for comedy) is also an odd choice and only takes away the comedy aspect even further while the chemistry between her and Ferrell is pretty underwhelming. There is also a love-story subplot between the two leads which I felt was unnecessary and only added to the film's long length. There's a scene that really felt like the film's climax but when it was over I checked the timer to see there was still 30+ mins left. What was also unnecessary was the Russian rival (Dan Stevens) who's purpose and motivation in the story is unclear. Was he supposed to be an antagonist or not??
It's not a bad film but as comedies go I expected something lighter and shorter. Eurovision fans will be glad to know there is a musical sequence halfway into the film that features cameos from past Eurovision contestants, all singing right into the camera just like a music video. This was obviously fan-service but it came at a cost because it really took me out of the film...especially when that bearded transgender winner from 2014 turned up. I shuddered.
BLADES OF GLORY (2007) was better.