Eurovision! That word has very different meanings for people depending on where you are located in the world. In the US it is known as a music event full of strange acts that are barely worth a second glance. But to the rest of the word the Eurovision Song Contest is like a religion. Bands like the ever-popular ABBA became household names after performing at the contest while even today there are television shows and house parties dedicated to what is arguably the world’s biggest annual music event.
Now Eurovision comes to the big screen in the form of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga – a comedy film starring the iconic Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory). Ferrell plays Icelandic musician Lars Ericksson, who along with, his best friend Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams – The Notebook) form pop-group Fire Saga.
Despite the fact the band are treated as a joke in their home town Fire Saga suddenly find themselves thrust into the world spotlight when the actions of a corrupt official leads to them representing Iceland at Eurovision as it is considered that they are ‘the least likely Icelandic act to win’. While Lars celebrates the fact that his life-long dream is only a couple of performances away Sigirit sees this as an opportunity to perhaps take that romantic step with Lars.
However things don’t go to plan. First the band are set-up to fail and when a Greek pop-star (Melissanthi Mahut – In Transit) sets her sights on Lars while a Russian mega-star (Dan Stevens – Beauty And The Beast) decides her is the perfect match for Sigrit – both on and off the stage.
It may come as a surprise to many film lovers but unlike many American comedies this film is quirky, funny and has a massive amount of heart. Often Ferrell damages the film he is in by trying too hard to get a laugh. Ferrell is reigned in well by director David Dobkin (The Judge) and the result is a smooth comedic performance that sees Ferrell deliver some amazing one liners and occasionally producing some moments of slap-stick gold.
Ferrell is well supported by the cast around him. McAdams who is known more for her dramatic performances is like a fish to water with comedy. She is equally as funny as Ferrell through the film and some of her scenes with Dan Stevens, who also reveals a comedic side we never existed, are some of the most memorable scenes in the film.
What sets Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga aside from other comedies is its quirkiness and heart. From exploding boats, a romantic couple that may or may not be brother and sister and dancing whales you never know what Dobkin and the screenwriters will throw at the audience next. That alongside some witty one-liners means audience members are laughing throughout the film.
Then there is the heart of this film that makes the experience of watching it something memorable. Unlike many comedies this film has well-rounded and fleshed out characters which leads to some emotionally-driven storylines. Plot points like Lars trying to fulfil his dreams while trying to form a meaningful relationship with his father (Pierce Brosnan – Tomorrow Never Dies) bring a real sense of meaning to the film. Then there are little points like Lars teaching a young Sigrit to talk using music – those kinds of things are a stroke of genius from a screenplay as they really make the audience more emotionally involved with the characters in front of them.
With interesting and three-dimensional characters and a witty screenplay that delivers some moments of comedy gold Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga is one of Will Ferrell’s best film in years.