In a year that saw Eurovision cancelled due to Covid, Netflix has swooped in with an imperfect yet heartfelt tribute to the iconic song contest. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (retitled so as not to be lost in Google searches) sits squarely in the middle of star, writer and producer Will Ferrell’s oeuvre. The humour is consistently amusing and avoids his cringiest trademarks, but the gags are safe rather than sharp—for instance, scripting Graham Norton’s acerbic commentary to appeal beyond a British audience and never reaching the wit of his live observations.

But while it misses greatness, Eurovision Song Contest is clearly a labour of love from the Eurovision-obsessed Ferrell and an equally committed cast and creative team. Ferrell co-stars with Rachel McAdams as Lars and Sigrid—aka Fire Saga, aka Iceland’s unlikeliest Eurovision entry. Lars gets the broader jokes, but McAdams’ subtler, and in many ways more absurd, comedy steals the screen. As the overly macho Russian contestant, Dan Stevens delivers camp in spades, though the commentary around Russia’s homophobia in the competition never hits above the easiest targets.

Every number on and off the stage is a whirl of sequins, pyrotechnics, and death-defying props, and every belted tune is relentlessly upbeat—ballads do not exist here. This immense and unmistakable fondness for the competition translates to laughs with, rather than at, its biggest acts and fans. Not everything makes sense—jokes at the UK’s abysmal track record are unearned in a universe where Edinburgh is hosting—but these inaccuracies do not affect the overall enjoyment. If the small-town Fire Saga can make it, this universe makes up its lack of coherence with buckets of fun.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is nowhere near as good as the real deal, but it brings a much-needed dose of cheese and cheer.



CAST: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan, Demi Lovato, Graham Norton

DIRECTOR: David Dobkin

WRITERS: Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele

SYNOPSIS: Small-town duo Fire Saga is almost improbably selected to represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest—an opportunity of a lifetime, but do they have a chance?