Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
This has to be one of the absolute strangest experiences of 2020 thus far. This movie is unlike anything I have seen this year, and it does an interesting job of throwing its audience back to the Will Ferrell movies of old. It may not have the charm of some of those films, but it’s an exaggerated version Ferrell on screen as he takes on a new type of character (but keeps his signature style). One element that worked extremely well was the music. The songs are genuinely catchy (albeit silly), and many of them have stuck with me since watching. It may not even be the ones they intend to be “high quality,” but some are just so wacky that they stick.
It’s a clear satirical take on serious films/events in this vein, and clearly Eurovision (which I have never actually watched) but it also genuinely implements a heartfelt element with its “country-representing” storyline. The celebrity cameos, and really the supporting cast in general, are all solid and fun enough. The movie is absolutely ridiculous on every level, but it’s the mixture of these unexpected elements that will bring in a fanbase for this film. While soundtrack itself was fire, the on-stage performances weren’t necessarily up to par. I understand that it’s difficult to get some of these actors to perform live (especially our two leads). McAdams is probably talented enough to get away with it, but I don’t expect to hear Ferrell hit some of these high notes anytime soon.
The issue here is the fact that every single performance features auto-tune, and they are all dubbed over. The dubbing is so obvious that it becomes distracting. The biggest issue here is the fact that this Comedy wasn’t all that funny. The emotion was actually more effective than the comedy, but that only takes up a small portion of the film. The majority of the movie is built to make us laugh, but the comedy mostly cringe-worthy. A few jokes hit, but it almost felt as if Ferrell was “too much” for this role. He is doing what he does best, and that is going to win some over. You can see that he genuinely cares about the film, as he isn’t phoning it in, but his style didn’t fit the character as well as it should have. There are far too many moments that I would consider a misfire, and that doesn’t make for a well-made film. It’s definitely more entertaining than expected, but it fell in the easy/predictable traps far too often.
🔙No Country for Old Men♻️