Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Repeat Bidness: Glorious

Blades of Glory

Release: 03/30/2007
DVD: 08/27/2007
Rated: PG-13
1 hour, 33 minutes

Matinee <> FULL PRICE

The bad boy of figure skating, Chazz Michael Michaels, played by Will Ferrell (*Wedding Crashers), and golden child Jimmy MacElroy, played by Jon Heder (*The Benchwarmers), were the unquestioned leaders of men’s singles competition. But since there can be only one champion, their bitter rivalry erupted on the ice, leaving them banished for life. Three and a half years later, Jimmy’s stalker, Hector, portrayed by Nick Swardson (*Grandma’s Boy), tells Jimmy of a loophole that will allow him to skate…in pairs competition. Soon after, Jimmy crosses paths with Chazz and their hatred explodes, landing them in jail until Coach, played by Craig T. Nelson (The Family Stone), approaches them with the crazy idea of skating together. With nothing to lose, the two men set out to qualify for Nationals assuming they don’t maim each other first.

By simply looking at the cast pedigree listed so far, there should be no doubt that this film was designed to be silly, stupid and funny. Simply put, it exceeds all expectations. First-time feature length film directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck give Ferrell wide berth to be the wildly egotistical front man he plays so well. Heder plays the more sympathetic character, and is equally effective. Fans of figure skating may find “Blades” to be insulting to the sport, but the absurd routines that the “skaters” perform wouldn’t be funny if they weren’t. Besides, it couldn’t be too offensive if the film managed to include cameos from Nancy Kerrigan, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, and Sasha Cohen! But the film isn’t all Ferrell, Heder, and former stars of the ice. Actors such as the aforementioned Swardson and Nelson play extreme caricatures and are extremely hilarious doing it. I’d love to give you an example but they must be seen to be believed.

Amy Poehler (Mean Girls) and Will Arnett (Let’s Go to Prison) will both creep out and amuse audiences in classic Boris-and-Natasha style as the Michaels-MacElroy duo’s main competition; Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg.

Dirty Undies
Jenna Fischer sheds her “Office” attire for the role of Katie Van Waldenberg. Jenna turns on both her cutesy, girl-next-door charms and her inner call girl to entice the Michaels-MacElroy duo into dissention and pique audiences. “Blades” also tosses in some gratuitous cleavage shots from nubile skaters and even an EMT, but they all pale in comparison to a towel-clad Ferrell with his flowing black locks, numerous tats, and generous pudge. Okay, maybe not.

Not since the days of Tonya Harding has ice skating been so brutal a sport. Ferrell and Heder crack one another’s skulls and bust each other’s balls on more than one occasion. For good measure, they even manage to abuse not one, but two skating mascots!

The Money Shot
If you find the thought of an 6’ 3 1/2” mildy overweight man being a champion figure skater ludicrous, it’d be in your best interest to save your hard-earned dollars. For the rest of us, "Blades of Glory" is a multi-faceted achievement; it continues to build Ferrell’s killer comedy resume, boosts the reputation of many deserving up-and-coming actors, and it revives the nearly dead film career of Jon Heder. While the story’s premise may be skating on thin ice, rest assured the comedy is able to nail the landing...and that’s what will have audiences on their feet cheering.

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