When I saw Will Ferrell (“Step Brothers”, “Elf”) and Rachel McAdams (“Game Night”, “Disobedience”) sing in the ‘Volcano Man’ music video, I thought I was in for a ‘Popstar’ type mockumentary. Instead, I watched a film that fully embraced the real Eurovision Contest with open arms and sometimes plays a bit serious.
Ferrell and McAdams play best friends Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Erickdottir, two shy Icelanders who just want to achieve their dream of participating in the Eurovision Contest. The contest is an annual international singing competition where the applicants must perform original songs in front of a live audience.
Even though they put on a bad audition, something horrific happens that causes Iceland officials to pick Lars and Sigrit as Iceland representatives in the competition.
While competing, Lars is trying to prove to his father Erik, Pierce Brosnan (“The Matador”, “The Foreigner“) that he is a not a screw-up, while Sigrit is trying to get Lars to fall in love with her.
Now let’s get the main star of the film, which is the musical performances. The songs are very memorable and a few of them haven’t left me since I turned off the film. ‘Volcano Man,’ ‘Jaja Ding Dong,’ and ‘Hasuvik’ are a few of the highlights that really leave you in a good mood.
There’s a Song-a-Long which involves past Eurovision winners that seemed to be the most entertaining part of filming. There is so much joy in the actors’ and singers’ faces that you couldn’t help but smile yourself.
The international supporting cast fully dives into their comical roles without relying on funny accents or stereotypes when most films would try to get cheap laugh out those situations. Dan Stevens (“Legion (TV)”, “Beauty and the Beast“) steals every scene as Alexander Letmov, the Russian competitor who’s overly friendly and very secretive.
Director David Dobkin (“The Judge”, “Wedding Crashers”) does a great job letting the characters breathe and never rushes anything, but I wish he cut out some of the unnecessary scenes that didn’t add to the story. If the film cut about 20 minutes, then the story would have flowed a little easier.
Ferrell, who co-wrote the film, and McAdams make a very cute duo who definitely need to be in more films together. I love it when McAdams let’s her character run a bit wild like she did in 2018’s “Game Night”. I hope to see her headline more comedies in the future.
Ferrell does his usual character but I think this film benefited greatly from it. I hope this becomes an upswing for him, because he has always been one of my favorite comedy actors of the last 20 years.
Lastly, this must be one of the most beautiful and colorful films to come out in 2020. Iceland looks absolutely stunning and the musical set pieces pop onscreen. I hope to see the real Eurovision Competition in 2021 look somewhat similar to this with Lars and Sigrit making a surprise appearance.