A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a broad comedy starring Will Ferrell. It focuses on the annual Eurovision Song Contest, a hugely popular European musical competition established in 1956. As he did in both Blades of Glory (ice skating) and Anchorman (TV news), Ferrell again plays a buffoonish character who wreaks havoc and unleashes stereotypes for big laughs. You can expect the usual outrageously silly "violence": a knifing, a tragic boat explosion with the requisite severed arm, falls, and upended portable toilets. Humor is also based in sexual jokes, innuendo, LGBTQ clichés, and a preoccupation with penis size (with visuals of nude statues). Characters kiss and wake up in bed with one another in "maybe they did, or maybe they didn't" moments. Strong language includes "s--t," "goddamn," "crap," "ding-dong," and other euphemisms for penis, plus "f--k" and "balls." Adults drink in multiple scenes, with one instance of vomiting from drunkenness.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The lifetime goal of Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) is to participate and win Europe's most important annual singing competition in EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA. Still living at home with his disapproving dad (Pierce Brosnan) in a small town in Iceland, Lars and childhood best friend Sigrit Erickssdottir (Rachel McAdams) have worked for decades to make Fire Saga, their band, a worthy competitor. In Lars' mind, 2020 will be their year to shine. Sigrit's beautiful voice, however, cannot compensate for her partner's limited talent and propensity for messing up. A fluke gets them into Iceland's regional finals. A tragic explosion sends them to Edinburgh, Scotland, as Iceland's entry. Complicating their quest for the championship is Sigrit's longstanding but unspoken love for the clueless Lars, as well as an unsettling connection (for Lars) with Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens), a Russian singer with a yen for Sigrit.
Is it any good?
The filmmakers and high-spirited cast simply can't sustain more than two hours of comic frenzy along with tired sexual jokes and stereotypes in this sometimes funny, crude spoof. Though there are some musical highlights (Demi Lovato makes a surprising appearance, and Molly Sanden, voice performer for McAdams, is wonderful), there are too many exquisitely awful songs in the mix as well. Ferrell's devoted following and fans of over-the-top goofiness will still find much to like, but judicious editing plus a little less of Ferrell's man-child persona and Dan Stevens' sleaziness might have taken Eurovision Song Contest up a notch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in this movie. Was it meant to be realistic and disturbing, or cartoon-like? How can you tell? What is the impact of different types of media violence on kids?
What does the term "predictable" mean when it applies to movies? When did you know how Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga would end? Do you think it's OK for a movie to be predictable if taking the journey with the characters is entertaining or enlightening? Why or why not?
Were you aware of the Eurovision Song Contest before you saw the film? If you weren't, did the movie work anyway? What are some of the universal characteristics of talent competitions that evoke humor? Find out more about the famous competition, whose past winners include ABBA (1974) and Celine Dion (1988).
- On DVD or streaming: June 26, 2020
- Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens
- Director: David Dobkin
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 123 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual material, including full nude sculptures, some comic violent images, and language
- Last updated: July 9, 2020
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