What the Hell Happened to Will Ferrell?
Will Ferrell is the funniest comedic actor of the past 20 years, a master of silly absurdity, whose talent for youthful nonsense - often associated with explosive aggression - has rightly made him a Hollywood A-Lister. It is therefore no pleasure for me to report that his latest Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is not only a two-hour mixture of elaborate production design and filmmaking on site without any trace of humor, but also further confirmation that the star got stuck in a rut of repetitions with diminishing returns. What was once inspired for the Saturday Night Live veteran is now old hat. Ferrell's new Netflix feature (released June 26) is clear evidence that he made it easy to vomit his Shtick trademark - and forgot why it worked the first time.
Eurovision Song Contest: The story of Fire Saga is about Lars (Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), two clownish Icelandic pop star wannabe whose lifelong dream is to win the international Eurovision Song Contest. It's actually Lars dream, because regardless of her love of music, Sigrit is mainly in her duo (called Fire Saga) because she loves Lars and Kiefern to have a baby with them. That leaves the talented McAdams saddled with a cheerless supporting role as a character, whose entire existence revolves around their male counterpart. Unfortunately, however, this is the least of the problems for the film, which brings its sizeable budget - through outrageous costumes and elaborate concert pieces at the Eurovision competition - to the screen, but has no time to invent a single surprising or unique joke.
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The flat direction by director David Dobkin is partly responsible for the tristesse of the process, but since it is clearly a project that is about Ferrell - who wrote the script together with Andrew Steel - he bears the main culprit without exception Eurovision leadiness. Ferrell dances with long blonde hair, a strange Nordic accent, and a variety of silly, tight-fitting, and / or puffy outfits like a stunted kid desperately looking for the global spotlight while he was in his basement (with a horned helmet) with McAdams Rehearsing songs and makeshift cloak) and scowls from his disapproving fisherman Erick (Pierce Brosnan). He is an overgrown teenage boy who still lives at home, achieves a seemingly impossible goal and, despite immeasurable evidence to the contrary, has an unreasonable and persistent belief in himself and his artistic ability.
This is a painfully familiar terrain for Ferrell, whose Lars is an insane boy who races forward no matter how often he publicly embarrasses himself. Even worse, in contrast to Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy or Talladega Nights: The ballad by Ricky Bobby does not throw Eurovision Lars as a reflection of a larger milieu, which it impaled. The script by Ferrell and Steele has no view of Lars, his home country, or the world of international pop music (and TV singing shows). Without a satirical perspective, it's just a lot of mild immaturity that ends up stranded in a sea of expensive showstoppers and doesn't lead to any notably funny ending. Ferrell's performance is not characteristically characterized and amounts to red hijinks that are not nearly eccentric or outrageous enough to preserve the material. Compared to his Magnum opus of ridicule between man and child, the Step Brothers from 2008, everything feels watered down and sluggish here.
Even The Other Guys, Ferrell, and Mark Wahlberg's undervalued cop comedy of 2010 had an eye on the dynamics of law enforcement and corporate misconduct while creating a new fold in their star's established big-screen personality. The thread that connects this film, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, is of course Adam McKay, Ferrell's long-time error worker.
McKay's absence from their partnership in recent years (he has directed Oscar winner The Big Short and Vice) has led to a sharp decline in the quality of Ferrell's features. Since the couple's last collaboration, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues 2013, Ferrell's filmography has been a collection of disappointing creative dropouts: gay panic Get Hard with Kevin Hart; the lukewarm house with Amy Poehler; the catastrophic Zoolander 2 with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; the superfluous Daddy's Home 2 with the repulsive Mel Gibson; the brutal Holmes & Watson with John C. Reilly; and last February with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
As this recent résumé makes clear, Ferrell continues to attract strong co-stars. However, none of these films was ready to embellish its formulaic narrative with the surrealistic madness that defines its best efforts. They are safe in terms of plot, humor and lead role, which usually means that Ferrell makes an ever smaller variation of his typical protagonist. Considering that the actor has the ability to color his childish characters in different shades of madness - sometimes angry under a youthful look; other times arrogant or hypersensitive, in addition to being childish - he has not done this memorably in years; Today, the most common expectation is that classic Ferrell craziness will come to fruition in cameos (like his short spot in Between Two Ferns: The Movie) than in headlining phrases.
Ferrell remains one of the most successful comedians in the entertainment industry, which makes a dud like Eurovision so daunting. More than the endless procession of scenes and subplots that serve no purpose other than to advance the story of painting by number - mainly related to Dan Stevens' Russian opponent with a note - it is the lack of spontaneity that makes this matter Failure condemned. It's as if Ferrell and Company, having come up with the basic premise of playfully screwing up the European music world, assumed that most of their work was done, and that otherwise they just did the action with a hint of half-hearted riffing and an avalanche spice up glamor and glamor - a frustrating impression that becomes clearer the longer you wait for a selected one-liner to dissolve the monotony.
The result is a film that not only fails on its own, but also indicates that there is a real risk for Ferrell, taking him out of his comfort zone and making his routine complicated, challenging or simply redefining mining in recent decades. It is clear that he has it all - and that it is necessary if he wants to maintain his place at the forefront of American film comedy.
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