The United States is no stranger to the outsized singing contest. We are a country that made American idol the highest rated show for years and we can thank Factor X for creating beloved boy bands like One Direction. Joy and Perfect tone they were authentic cultural phenomena. But every year, on the other side of the pond, something strange and extravagant happens that we still struggle to understand: the lord of musical music who is the Eurovision singing contest.
Every year since 1956, at least 50 European countries compete with each other in a televised singing competition, which many joke is the only reason why a third world war has not broken out. In a competition so steeped in international politics (voting often lines up with decades-long alliances) and televised live across the continent, Eurovision could be thought of as an austere affair. But instead, the performances are an eye-catching show on the brink of camp, with countries seemingly doing their best to outdo each other in visual grandeur. Do Europeans take it seriously? Is there a real political meaning to all of this? Could Americans hope to understand what the deal is with this contest? Forget it, Jake, it’s Eurovision.
Get in Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, the two stars of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of the Fire Saga, met with Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin. Netflix’s farce comedy appears to be a parody of Eurovision as well-intentioned as an outlet for Ferrell and Dobkin to try and figure out what the hell Eurovision is. They never really find out, and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of the Fire Saga ends a messy and incoherent comedy.
The problem is, you can’t satire on something as incomprehensible (to us Americans) as Eurovision. The satire of something so blatantly ridiculous and yet incredibly sincere is difficult, just as political satire these days falls apart when reality goes beyond parody. Eurovision may not be beyond parody, but Dobkin and screenwriter Andrew Steele approach the song contest from an overly simplistic perspective.
Eurovision singing contest follows Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (McAdams), two aspiring Icelandic musicians who dream only of competing at the Eurovision Song Contest. You see, the contest saved them both: ABBA’s historic performance in 1974 brought them together as children, with Lars inspired to become as fabulous a singer as the Swedish group and then-dumb Sigrit breaking out of his shell and learning to speak. Now, 30 years later, the two play their Eurovision audition songs for a disgruntled audience in the only run-down bar in their small fishing village. But after a stroke of luck and a strange accident that kills the country’s true contender (a waste Demi lovato), Which may or may not have been orchestrated by a ruthless Icelandic jury member, Lars and Sigrit have a chance not only to compete in Eurovision, but to reach the final.
There are shadows of better comedies in Eurovision singing contest, who looks like he’s trying to be next Walk hard in his spectacularly silly tone and sharp criticism of the music industry. (And in his surprisingly good satirical songs that are catchier than some real pop songs.) But Eurovision singing contest I can’t wait to string the real-life contest as effectively as Walk hard makes the music biographical film, just because he doesn’t seem to understand what Eurovision’s appeal is. So Eurovision singing contest shifts gears in the middle of the film, opting for an ironic sincerity reminiscent of the Perfect tone series that could be mistaken for genuine sincerity (there’s even a Perfect tone-esque “long song” in which all the competitors participate in a happy series of versions in an after party). The tone is confused when Eurovision singing contest goes to great lengths to pay tribute to the real Eurovision contest by parading past winners through the aforementioned “song a long” scene, and giving Sigrit of McAdams an emotionally emotional journey as he must choose between his singing partner of all life and his unrequited love Lars or Dan Stevens‘talented Russian singer who offers you the opportunity for a true musical career.
However, the only thing this film has to accomplish is McAdams, who can show off his comedy chops once again after proving he was a comic force to be reckoned with. Game night. McAdams is a little bit more of a note on Eurovision singing contest, given the fairly flat character of the naive and eternally patient Sigrit, but she is so effervescent and surprising that you wish you could see her all the time. Ferrell is as expected, traversing the movements of her standard man-boy bullish character who has played so many times in her career, only now with an awkward Icelandic accent. Stevens is the other standout, having fun as an undercover Russian singer putting on a show of his hypermasculinity with each of his appearances.
Eurovision singing contest feels a little squeaky, as if the formula for the huge man-boy comedy is starting to weaken Dobkin’s attempts to breathe new life into the formula by fusing it with satire, but it’s a satire who doesn’t know what to scoff at or who string. Instead, we have awkward and unnecessary digs into Asian accents (and an inaccurate imitation of a Korean accent).
The problem is that Eurovision singing contest I can’t dream of capturing the real-life oddity of Eurovision. And while there are some laughs that can be gleaned from the lips of McAdams and Ferrell by syncing a surprisingly catchy song while running through a hamster wheel, there’s just so much fun to be had from a televised singing contest where things have happened. weirdest.
/ Movie rating: 4 out of 10
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