This was something I thought I could easily ignore. Will Farrell is an actor that has really only made a handful of actual good movies with a couple of movies people think are funny but not actually good. But teaming with the director of Wedding Crashers and The Judge to make a parody of a European singing contest seemed easy to ignore as dumb since Netflix’s original films are overwhelmingly bad. Instead the movie and its accompanying music blew up and since I cover music I might as well look at the OTHER musical fo release around 4th of July on a streaming service.
The film follows Will Farrell’s Lars and long time best friend Sigrit played by Rachel McAdams as the duo Fire Saga as they work their way through many a mishap, miscommunication, and mistakes to make it to Eurovision, a European wide song contest. Once there they must deal with rivals both musical and romantic all while trying to find their place.
Boy is the name of the game inconsistency. From head to toe the movie is inconsistent, but not inconsistent in the conventional ways. No, that would not make it interesting. Instead it’s inconsistent in ways that are very unique and fascinating. Because at the end of the day I think it’s a bad movie. It has no good jokes. Scenes go on too long, and it does weird supernatural nonsense for some reason, but has many good things going for it that it tricks you.
The strangest good thing it accomplishes is The production both visually and musically. The movie is gorgeous to look at. It helps that they are shooting in gorgeous areas, on top of that the actual directing and cinematography is way better than it has any right to be. The team really knew how to bring out all the stops to make every scene convey the exact right emotion, and not go lazy with camera positioning, scene transitions, and editing. The song numbers especially feel very strong. The music is also good, but we’ll get to that.
What’s also strong is Ferrell’s and McAdams pereformances. They have an amazing chemistry that makes them feel like they really are long time friends. Some of that feels forced in by the script, but other times it feels incredibly natural. The whole cast is good in fact. They do not all get something fun or exciting to do, but they all play their parts well. Pierce Brosnan shows up as Lars’s father, and the Gillian Anderson’s boyfriend from Sex Education acts as a strong down to earth presence. Until he isn’t. The international cast is also fun, but also fairly standard for this kind of movie.
Unfortunately that is where the good ends as far as the movie is concerned. Since, outside of that it is a slog. The root goes back to it is too earnest to be a full on comedy like it wants to be, and it really wants to be. It has also sorts of jokes that don’t match with the more grounded tone. Again there is a confirmed supernatural presence that shows up multiple times in the film. But that same instinct makes it too goofy to be taken seriously during the somber moments. The big act two heartbreak is incredibly contrived in this one that it is almost excruciating.
Much of the movie felt that way. Unfortunately that tends to happen when a comedy isn’t funny. So many of the jokes feel aimless, undercooked, and awkward adlibed additions that it drags out the pace of everything.
This pacing problem impacts the songs most of all and that hurts because the songs are good. Each song that is given the time has a nice energy to them. They don’t feel too generic, and have a good variety of genres, but none of them get enough time except the two Fire Saga songs. Both Double Trouble and Hiusvik are very good songs, also that Volcano Man one from the beginning, they again have inventive lyrics, good structure, nice production. They work. Most of the songs do. They just don’t get nearly enough time dedicated to them.
At the end of the movie, when the duo sing their big song and have their I won the emotional journey but not the competition it honestly felt like a good movie. A lot of this movie looks like it’s a good movie. It was just some good musical fun. The problem is the rest of the movie isn’t like that. Instead it is tonally uneven, poorly paced, and unfunny.
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