Oh boy, we should have seen this coming. An overblown, overly-long, Will Ferrell comedy about something big over seas that Americans have no clue of. This should have sucked. No, really, it should have. After Holmes and Watson, I really did think there was nothing left for Will Ferrell to do. That movie should have been a career killer. It should have. So when Will Ferrell announced that he was going to make a movie about Eurovision, I only had the lowest of expectations. Like seriously, bottom of the barrel — no hope whatsoever.
So how is it that this movie managed to subvert my expectations and become one of the biggest crowd pleasers of recent memory? Don’t get me wrong, this movie still has some pretty big issues. Which we’ll go over first, before we get to me gushing about this film.
There are only two key things that stop this movie from being great, its pacing and comedic tropes. The pacing issue can be found about halfway through the movie. Everything moves along at break neck speed, but halfway through, I was left scratching my head. They had wrapped up most of the plot lines that were set up in the first act. Without getting into spoilers, I will say that the pacing at the midway mark to near the end of the film felt like it was part of a sequel that does not exist. Things still move properly but the way it was put together does make for a confusing bit of time.
The next huge problem, and possibly its biggest, is that it falls under too many comedic tropes. The doof, male main character who has a cute, quirky, and adorable female character. That’s there. Scenes of “comedy” where it’s clearly just the actors improvising their lines and having a fun time on set. Check. Something bad happening that makes the plot longer than it should be. Check. Explaining the joke even when it was funny. Check. There is a lot of that in here and it does stop the movie from being truly spectacular.
So while those aspects hold the movie back, it’s LITERALLY everything else that makes this movie as good as it is. For starters, the first aspect I must praise is the story. Despite a lot of tropes and plot points that can be seen miles away, the story is actually very respectful and restrained. This could have easily been a parody of the real Eurovision, but instead of being a parody, it attempts to give us what a real Eurovision would be like. It’s actually super cool. It pays respect rather than do something goofy that they might feel we’d laugh at. The movie also takes risks — BIG RISKS. There is an entire sequence where the movie pulls in past REAL Eurovision winners to sing a song and it works so well. I had no idea who any of these people and I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome each of them sounded.
Not only that, but there are storylines and characters that I can’t help but feel attached too. Will Ferrell is the weakest part f the movie as his character is the least interesting, but even then, I cared about seeing him succeed. The same goes for Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens, they’re super likable and I want to see them be happy. The story isn’t also afraid to get heartfelt and serious. There are a couple moments where you just feel heartbroken for them. And mind you, this was written by Ferrell, so the amount of heart felt here is something I just did no expect whatsoever. And just to add more praise to this praise fire, there is no villain in this movie. Sure, there are antagonistic forces, but to say there is a real villain for this movie would be a lie. No one is really the villain of the story, just people trying to do their best for themselves and for others. It’s kind of like Deadpool 2 in terms of characters — no real villains just people trying to do their best. It’s an aspect of the movie I must commend. Then there is the music.
The music to this movie is its foundation; it’s what makes this movie work on every level. There is no weak mix, no weak score, no weak song — you can tell the amount of effort that went into the music. Every song and track is stellar and I have been listening to it on loop since I finished it. The songs in particular Ja Ja Ding Dong and Husavik really put a smile on my face. I love the music and I do think you will too. Another great aspect is the comedy.
Although I did make mention that there were tropes and bits that did not work, the comedy is still a huge part of this movie. And for the most part, the comedy does work really well. I found myself chuckling and laughing at certain bits throughout. And even going back to the part about taking risks, this movie also takes risk with its comedy. I won’t give it away, but for those of you who have seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But in the end there is one aspect that reins supreme.
The last and truly awesome aspect of this movie — and I do believe this is the reason why it works so well — is that it tries. Let me explain. We have so many comedies and music movies where they choose to focus on one aspect and forgo the other one entirely. Cats and Greatest Showman are perfect examples. Greatest Showman chose to focus on its music rather than its lackluster story. Cats chose to focus on neither because it’s terrible. And Frozen II as it chose to focus on its music rather than its story. Eurovision puts equal focus on both and it pays off tremendously. So much time and effort went into Eurovision and it shows.
I have watched this movie on loop for the past couple of days and I must say I am glad that I have. And with everything that I mentioned, I bet you are wondering what my verdict is.
Final Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars
Like I said before, there are aspects of this movie that do not work and bring this down considerably. But with everything else about it working so well, I cannot recommend this movie enough. It’s perfect for where we are currently. It’s the perfect distraction and feel good movie for all of us. So sit down, relax, and through this movie on, I promise you’ll feel better by the end.