Eurovision Movie: Over the Top and Around the Bend

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play Icelandic singing hopefuls in this over-egged musical comedy.

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.”Credit…John Wilson/Netflix

Balancing his hat over his hat, Eurovision Song Contest: ‘The Story of Fire Saga’ David Dobkin is trying to add even more humor to an event that is already legendary due to its excesses and aggressiveness. The result is a film that looks very attractive: ‘Mamma Mia!’ look shy.

Based on the belief that volume plus brilliance is equal to comedy, the film (broadcast on Netflix) features Lars (Will Ferrell), a street kid, and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), a shy music teacher who speaks with elves. Like the Fire Saga duo, they perform in the noisy bars of their tiny Icelandic fishing village – a place where everyone speaks English with an accent reminiscent of the Swedish chef at ‘The Muppets’. To earn the respect of his disapproving father (Pierce Brosnan), Lars wants to represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest. Sigrit, of course, just wants Lars to fall in love with her.

This rampant farce, rather a tribute than a parody, whips the farce and cheese into a real souffle of bad taste. A series of ridiculous running jokes – for example, our heroes, who are often mistaken for brothers and sisters – does little but add to the plot, which includes both mass death and the killing of an elf. At the same time, Ferrell, magnificent in multi-colored cardigans and spandex, makes Lars annoying, egomaniacal distraction from more enjoyable performances (such as the high role of Dan Stevens in the role of Russian George Michael) and especially from the original songs of the film.

Created by several talented musicians (including Savan Kotecha, who wrote for Ariana Grande and The Weeknd), these impressive chants nourish the pompous, humble popularity that Eurovision is famous for.

At least when Lars is silent long enough so that we can hear them.

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