Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is the latest Will Ferrell comedy that dropped on Netflix this week. Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens are some of the other co-stars of the film, which is helmed by Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin.
Normally, I’m a fan of Will Ferrell’s comedic work. He does tend to play the man-child in a lot of his work but I feel like most of the time he tends to pull it off. He plays Lars Erickssong, a man who’s dreamed in taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest ever since he was a little boy. The character doesn’t feel like anything different for Ferrell and it’s no surprise that his charm and chemistry Rachel McAdams make the movie work. Rachel McAdams bounces very well of Ferrell and the two manage to effectively capture both the more serious moments and the more comedic ones.
Unfortunately for them, the script doesn’t fully take advantage of the undeniable chemistry the leads have. While there are a few chuckles throughout, I never found myself laughing out loud like I should be when a comedy’s primary aim is to make me laugh. Even with the more serious moments, the script doesn’t fully hit the beats effectively. If it wasn’t for the actors trying to make it work, they wouldn’t work at all because of how incredibly cliched and formulaic to me. The entire arc with Will Ferrell’s dad (who is played by Pierce Brosnan) felt light and did not hit me the way the film wants it to.
The fact that the film doesn’t fully explore these arcs while still being way too long is another issue. Director David Dobkin and the editors really had to choose things to cut out because the film does not earn its run time at all. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t really have any issue with comedies being longer than a 100 minutes. I love a lot of Apatow’s work and most of them are well over 2 hours but to me those run times feel earned. I found myself checking my watch way too often during the movie and kept thinking what they could have cut to help the film’s pacing.
One of the things that came to my mind were the songs. A couple of them are actually hilarious and I found one to be surprisingly good. In an Oscar field where we’re probably not going to have many nominations I could actually see it getting a nomination. That being said, there were way too many and some of them just felt forgettable and like they were padding on to a run time that was already too long. Sure seeing Dan Stevens have a couple musical numbers was great and he’s one of the best parts of the movie but I don’t see how the filmmakers of Eurovision justified including that many songs. Especially when a good chunk don’t even contribute to character or story.
Overall, Eurovision has charming leads and seeing some TV actors I love like Natasia Demetriou from What We Do In The Shadows crush their smaller scenes was great. Sadly, the script feels overly long and doesn’t have enough laughs for me to recommend it.