Eurovision – like most households with questionable taste – is an annual staple in the Aim for the Bushes household and given, you know, Covid, it was a much missed televisual event this year.
Hearing Will Ferrell – an apparent ‘huge’ fan of the musical event – was planning to do a Netflix Eurovision film, I – like the rest of humankind – was rather sceptical heading into the streaming services latest big release. I’ve had a weird relationship with Ferrell over the years. During my uni days I had a fully fledged ‘man crush’ on the former SNL star. Anchorman, Old School and my personal favourite, The Other Guys, are comedies that I hold in very high regard, as I do Ferrell’s own ridiculously dorky performances. Then you get to his recent output: Get Hard & Sherlock Holmes being recent stinkers that deserve eliminating from the face of the earth. I didn’t hold out much hope for this one.
Yet – thank the cinematic overlords above us – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a gigantically messy piece of well-spirited fun. We all know Eurovision is ridiculous in every conceivable way. From the songs and acts, to the OTT hosts to the over-blown production values of the show itself, it’s an annual event of colourful, camp fun. The Story of Fire Saga embraces all of these elements and feels fully in on the Eurovision joke. Forget the Scottish sized plot holes and a massive age-related question mark over the central pairing. Instead take in Ferrell actually being funny again, Dan Stevens rocking it as a closeted Russian gay man you find both engrossing and sympathetic and MVP Rachel McAdams bringing a surprising amount of heart and soul to proceedings. I was sold and I was thoroughly charmed.
I suspect the majority of Eurovision lovers will lap this up, while the cynics out there will find this more Ferrell post-2012 crap. What surprised me most of all – despite the laughs – is that I legitimately found it moving. My euro-music-hole has been filled successfully for 2020 and I suspect this saga will be filled under ‘cult hit’ in time to come.