Will Ferrell used to be so funny! Anchor Man: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Stepbrothers, The Other Guys, Elf... the list goes on.
Yes, the list gets a little patchy as it goes on - looking at you Daddy's Home -, and yes it reaches a point where you kind of wish the list had just stopped - looking at you Holmes & Watson - but the point stands.
Because even at his worst - looking at you Ferrell takes the Field, which yes I recently watched - there's just enough jokes to remind you that Ferrell's a funny guy. Maybe, just maybe, he could be funny again.
Because it's not that he's not funny anymore. It's more that he's just not funny enough anymore. A problem exemplified in his latest Netflix movie, the rambling yet accurately titled Eurovision Song Contest: The story of Fire Saga.
The movie's got jokes, gags, lols, laughs and some superb physical comedy. It just doesn't have enough of those things. There's long stretches where it drags and at a smidge over two hours it should have been tightened up considerably.
I had been looking forward to seeing it. At his best, and to be fair even at his averagest, Ferrell is a master of arrogant absurdity and zeroing in on the strange weirdness of everyday things.
Strange, weird and absurd is also a fine way to describe the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the annual Pop Idol-style celebration of over the top, four-to-the-floor dance-pop music that for some reason always sounds like it would have been woefully out of date even back in the early 2000s.
So Ferrell bringing his comedy stylings to that world should have been a number one smash hit. Sadly, it hits a bit of a bum note.
Rather than going all in on the comedy Ferrell, who co-wrote the movie, has attempted a cross-over, mixing in earnest rom-com tropes with his usual buffoon-out-of-water comedy and occasional blurts of surrealism. Which here takes the form of murderous Icelandic elves that may or may not exist.
Ferrell plays Lars Erickssong, a man whose life dream has been to win Eurovision. It's the typical Ferrell character, over-confident and clueless, and the film tells the story of how his pub band Fire Saga makes their way into the competition despite being terrible.
The other member of Fire Saga is Sigrit Ericksdottir, his life-long friend and "probably not sister". She's played by Rachel McAdams who is the band's - and the movie's - secret weapon. As a comic foil she's superb, expertly balancing wide-eyed quirk with dramatic depth.
The pair get embroiled and work their way through the usual sort of rom-com love triangle as ambition blinds Lars to everything but the win and they inch their way closer to glory despite being set up to fail.
It does have to be said that the movie is authentic to the spirit of the competition. The songs and performance routines are outrageous, humorously bizarre and wholly believable. The preening Russian entry Lion of Love and Fire Saga's own admittedly ear-worm, pop-thumper Double Trouble being perfectly calibrated examples. If you didn't know better they could easily pass as legit entries.
The film's an official collab with Eurovision which may explain its lack of bite, but doesn't excuse it being so middle of the road. Given all the elements it's just not as funny or as gloriously odd as you expect it to be.
The Eurovision is a bit of kitschy fun if you happen to catch it when it's on TV. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a mildly humorous, occasionally absurd, rom-com. It mirrors its namesake in that it has its moments and is an easy watch, but in the end both are instantly forgettable.