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Review: Eurovision Song Contest Doesn’t Hit the Right Notes

June 26, 2020
4 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of things to a halt. It has led to the cancellation of a lot of major events, one of which is the Eurovision Song Contest. While it is not a big thing in America, it is a phenomenon on the other side of the pond. With millions of people tuning into the show, it is one of the biggest music contests in the world, which also makes a good subject for a film. Will Ferrell realized that and, with Netflix, created a version of his own. Despite his talents, the effort to blend comedy with music doesn’t work out as expected and turns into a miss rather than a hit.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Plot

The story of ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ begins with a young Lars who is captivated by ABBA’s Waterloo performance in the contest. As he dances to it, joined by Sigrit, he is laughed at, though in a playful manner. It is then that he decides to win the contest because then, no one will laugh at him.

Years later, Lars is yet to find a way into Eurovision, still lives with his father who disapproves of his quest, and is still laughed at by others. The only support that he has is Sigrit, who has turned out to be a beautiful singer and, along the way, has also fallen in love with Lars. After years of making and refining their acts, they finally have the song to send as an entry into the contest.

Meanwhile, we see the people in charge of selecting Iceland’s entry into Eurovision pouring over their options. A brilliant Katiana turns out as their only option and, for once, Iceland has hope that they will win the contest. For the sake of picking a set number of contestants to choose from, they draw one CD out of a bunch, and luckily for Lars and Sigrit, it happens to be theirs. With no chances of winning the competition, the duo enters the battlefield and things take one surprising turn after another.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Review

If you didn’t know about Eurovision before watching its Netflix rendition, then you will probably not be left wanting about it. But for those who have witnessed the show, even if just once, the movie version doesn’t do any wonders. Despite the legion of talent behind the film, it never quite hits the fictional speorg note that it creates for its characters.

The first thing that doesn’t work for ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ is its tone. We are never sure of what the film is trying to be. It seems to toy with the idea of a satire, but never really delves into that territory. It gives us a potential romance and all the trouble that comes with it but keeps that plot on backfoot and never gives us a chance to ship the lead pair.

The non-Icelandic actors adopt an accent and a look that tries to define their characters, but again, it doesn’t turn out to be that funny, which is surprising. Will Ferrell’s comedy always depends on the eccentricity of his characters. He can become anything and anyone, and it is often he who carries the comedic weight of the films that he stars in, and steals the scenes in the ones with just a cameo. In ‘Eurovision Song Contest’, however, he seems a little slack. Similarly, Rachel McAdams, who is a wonderful actress, doesn’t quite know what to do with her undercooked character.

The character that does surprise us is that of Alexander Lemtov. Played by Dan Stevens as a flamboyant and closeted (because his country doesn’t allow it) man, Lemtov adds energy to his scenes, and Stevens’ accented portrayal gives him an edge in a way that you can’t hate him, even if he appears to be a troublemaker for the protagonists. We would have loved to see more of Lemtov, but again, he doesn’t receive the treatment that he deserves.

It is not that ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ is never funny. It is, but sporadically. The jokes catch you at odd times and the ones that are supposed to make you laugh never land well enough. The film does have some catchy songs, courtesy of Fire Saga, but they can’t make up for the disinterestedness that arises due to lousy writing.

All in all, the film is a passable distraction in the time of lockdown when you need something, anything, to keep your mind off the end of the world. If nothing else, then at least, it introduces you to the Eurovision contest. For those lamenting the cancellation of Eurovision 2020, it provides little to no reprieve.

Rating: 2/5

Read More: Best Will Ferrell Movies

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