Release Date: 26 June 2020
Genre: Comedy, Music
Director: David Dobkin
Writers: Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele
Stars: Natasia Demetriou, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Will Ferrell
When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is an annual international song competition, held every year by the European Broadcasting Union since 1956 (with the exception of 2020). For some, the European singing competition is cult, for others it's just a mess. A phenomenon that outsiders can hardly understand. Its popularity has apparently spread to the United States as now director David Dobkin has send Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams into the race for the singing crown representing Iceland people.
Iceland is a small country and there is only one big city in the land of ice and fire, Reykjavík. Lars Erickssong, Played by Ferrell, who always wanted to go there since he saw ABBA win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 got achance to represent his country Iceland in the contest. The story starts when When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit played by Rachel McAdams (a girl from the neighborhood, who has not left his side Since that awakening experience in front of the television) are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition.
David Dobkin, who has directed comedies such as The Wedding Crashers (2005) or As Changed (2011), was not averse to the mess, has made a typical Will Ferrell verdict out of the template co-produced and co-written by Ferrell. The classic outsider story, solidly written and played, contains a lot of humor and moments of foreign shame, lots of clichés about the nation, a little slapstick and a few crude sex and penis jokes.
The running joke in the film includes questions such as whether Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens), the Russian top favorite for the ESC win, is finally coming out of the closet and whether Lars and Sigrit are siblings. Lars always answers this with “probably not”, which in turn can be understood as a side blow to his busy producer Erick Erickssong (Pierce Brosnan), but also to the manageable population of the island state. It is again gratifying to see how many actual Icelanders are involved with McAdams and Ferrells.
ESC fans, on the other hand, should be delighted by the guest appearances by former participants, who are not allowed to be revealed here. But the spectacle itself, which has long made the competition a celebration bastion of the LGBT community, is also impressive. Dobkin's film is best when it ignores the story and focuses on the music and its performances. It was a long way from the "Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson", in which every nation was represented in its native language as comapred to the ESC, which sings almost exclusively in English. The show and sexy outfits often count more than song and voice. To parody that borders on a thing of impossibility, the ESC is now so over the top that it looks like a parody of itself. Dobkin's film copes with this balancing act effortlessly.
The rest of him stumbles repeatedly. Those who are not afraid of stupid things will be entertained here and will get to see breathtaking landscapes and cityscapes - from Húsavík to Reykjavík to Edinburgh, where the competition takes place. Irish-born Graham Norton, one of the UK's best-known TV hosts in real life, takes the observer position with the Netflix audience and comments the events smugly from the stands.
Reviewed by: Greg Becker
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