Those feeling deprived of Eurovision this year will be pleased to experience the next best thing – but enough about the Eurovision in Isolation podcast; here’s a mind-numbing Netflix movie.
Not to be confused with Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (but similarly disastrous), Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga follows the Icelandic entrants (Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) at the festival held in Edinburgh – begging a number of questions, chief among which is how the hell did the UK win the previous year?
Co-writer Ferrell is apparently a mega Eurovision fan; not enough to do basic research (the script references something called England’s Got Talent and has Graham Norton provide commentary for Eurovision’s Icelandic broadcast), but enough to have several attractive women lust after his character despite him being cringier than Gemini and creepier than Guildo. The European Broadcasting Union also had a hand in the film’s creation but what would they know about hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for 60 years?
This laziness permeates every element of the film, most notably the near-total absence of jokes; the closest we get are recurring references to the Icelandic being a backward people. Even the made-up Eurovision songs lack the invention and silliness of most real ones, opting for reverent recreations over satire or even parody. At one point we glimpse a Lordi-looking costumed band and can’t help but wish we saw a Spinal Tap movie about them instead of Ferrell’s display of unfunny improv and borderline xenophobia.
Ferrell seems to think a silly accent (literally everyone in the film does one) will make up for the nul-points script and no-point story, padded out to two hours with Eurovision cameos – including Sweden’s Loreen, Austria’s Conchita Wurst and ABBA’s Pierce Brosnan. Eurovision is rich material for a Best in Show-style comedy but this is a real Dustin the Turkey, whose sole redeeming feature is that Brosnan doesn’t sing.