Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star as a hapless Icelandic pop duo in David Dobkin’s latest comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Written by Ferrell in collaboration with Saturday Night Live sketch writer Andrew Steele, the film provides the usual silliness and chaos we’ve come to expect from Ferrell, with a big dollop of camp Eurovision kitschiness added for good measure.
In the small town of Húsavík, Iceland, Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and his best friend Sigrit (McAdams ) have been making music together since they were kids as part of a band named Fire Saga. Lars’s one and only dream is to one day win The Eurovision Song Contest and prove to his disapproving father Erick (Pierce Brosnan) that he is not a failure.
Applying to take part in the Icelandic pre-selection show, the duo are shocked when they are chosen to represent their country in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest which will be taking place in Scotland.
Arriving in Scotland, Lars and Sigrid soon realise that they are completely out of their depth and are likely to be a laughing stock in front of the whole continent. Things get further complicated when Sigrit catches the eye of Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens), a Russian singer who is clear favourite to win the contest.
In a year where Eurovision fans were left high and dry by the continuing Covid crisis, Fire Saga is a brilliant alternative. Dobkin's film is impressively self-aware and hugely respectful of its subject.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga doesn’t mock nor does it ever try to belittle the much loved show. Those expecting to be offended by a caricatural depiction of Scandinavian culture will find nothing here but pure love and adoration for the people and the contest itself. Ferrell et al manage to capture the elements that make the show so much fun, its blind optimistic worldview and pure love for the spectacle.
Rachel McAdams proves yet again that there is nothing she can’t do. She is funny, likeable and has impeccable comic timing, while Farrell does what comes to him naturally. Fans will be delighted to find the usual mixture of likeable vulnerability and silly antics we’ve come to expect.
It is however Dan Stevens who steals the show as the flamboyant Permatanned Alexander Lemtov. Here, Stevens is a genuine comic revelations, and a million miles away from his Downton Abbey heyday, which is by no means a bad thing.
At two hours long, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga might have benefited form a light edit, but on the whole this is exactly what most of us needed to lift our communal spirit right now. Expect hilarity, high camp and the usual Ferrell silliness.