Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Release date: June 26, 2020
Running time: 124 minutes
Starring:  Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdamsDan Stevens,  Pierce Brosnan

When aspiring Icelandic musicians Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.  However, they have to overcome their inexperience, insecurities, and unspoken feelings in order to represent Iceland and fulfill their dream.

This movie is a signature Will Ferrell buddy comedy, the type that were common in the early 2000s.  He picks something with humorous potential, finds a perfect co-star to make the vision a reality, and crafts a ridiculous story on top of it.  It is not complicated, but it works so well.  I had forgotten how much I missed these types of films.  It seemed like they were prevalent about 15 years ago but have since fallen off.  But thankfully Eurovision is a true return to form of this classic formula.  For this to work you need to have Will Ferrell committed to a ridiculous role, which he nails as Lars.  But you also need to have a complementary character, and McAdams as Sigrit is perfectly paired with him.  She is a perfect complement to Lars's outlandish character: a stronger singer and more quiet and reserved performer.  The two work well together and their interactions are a lot of fun to watch.  The pair are joined by a plethora of overly stereotypical European characters, including Russian singer Alexander Lemtov (Stevens) and Greek singer Mita Xenakis (Melissanthi Mahut).  All these characters are ridiculous caricatures of actual performers, and their over the top actions help to flesh out this film.

As with all these Will Ferrell buddy comedy movies, the humor is exaggerated and ridiculous.  The accents are over the top, the sensibilities are stereotypical, and the characters are extreme.  Some might be offended by the European stereotypes, but they're universally applied.  The Icelandic people are all extreme parodies of Icelanders, same with the Russians, Greeks, etc.  And the movie also pokes fun at Americans in a pretty great scene.  Knowing Will Ferrell's college affiliation, I especially appreciated the way that the Americans were dressed.  The story has plenty of ups and downs as the pair navigate the competition, but the film concludes with a fulfilling beautiful ending.  And for a movie about an exaggerated Eurovision contest, the music is surprisingly good.  Despite the songs sometimes being about ridiculous topics, there are several catchy ones and the final song is one that I have been listening to since the movie ended.  As with all of these movies, there is plenty of heart and talent underneath the ridiculous exterior.  

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a classic return to form of the Will Ferrell buddy comedy, with great exaggerated characters, laugh out loud moments, and plenty of heart and talent underneath the ridiculous exterior.  

Watch it.
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