July 29, 2021

‘Eurovision Song Contest’ Review: Over the Top and Around the Bend

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Balancing a hat on top of a hat, David Dobkin’s “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” tries to add even more humor to an event already legendary for its excesses and battiness. The result is a movie so eye-searingly extra it makes “Mamma Mia!” look bashful.

Seemingly operating on the belief that volume plus glitter equals comedy, the movie (streaming on Netflix) introduces Lars (Will Ferrell), a motherless man-child, and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), a shy music teacher who speaks to elves. As the duo Fire Saga, they perform in the rowdy bars of their tiny Icelandic fishing village — a place where everyone speaks English in an accent reminiscent of the Swedish chef on “The Muppets.” To gain respect from his disapproving father (Pierce Brosnan), Lars dreams of representing Iceland at Eurovision. Sigrit, of course, just wants Lars to fall in love with her.

More tribute than parody, this over-egged farce whips slapstick and cheese into an authentic soufflé of tastelessness. A series of unfunny running gags — like our heroes being repeatedly mistaken for brother and sister — do little but pad a plot that features both mass death and murder by elf. At the same time Ferrell, resplendent in multicolored cardigans and spandex onesies, makes Lars an irritating, egomaniacal distraction from more enjoyable performances (like Dan Stevens’s high-camp turn as a Russian George Michael) and, especially, from the film’s original songs.

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