Blades of Glory (2007) DreamWorks Distribution LLC
1 hr. 33 mins.
Starring: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, William Fichtner, William Daniels, Nick Swardson, Romany Malco
Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Pointless formulaic silly-minded comedies—they must be the rage these days because they keep popping up more than a stubborn zit on a high school computer geek’s forehead. As for the manic master of these moronic farces—Will Ferrell—he’s simply safeguarding his investment as he continues to strut around in these redundant throwaway laughers. Much like Ferrell’s fellow Saturday Night Live alum Adam Sandler, they both enjoyed a cult following on Lorne Michaels’s long-running and groundbreaking NBC sketch comedy. Of course, the popularity of these comics stuck with them as they headed for greener pastures on the big screen.
The riotous Ferrell has milked situational movie comedies with moderate success. In Anchorman, Ferrell found satire in pompous newsmen and local news television. Talladega Nights poked wicked fun at the NASCAR circuit and its rabid fans. Now Ferrell explores the competitive nature of figure ice-skating in the wacky laugher Blades of Glory. Predictably goofy-minded and off-centered, Blades is a desired guilty pleasure for Ferrell fans that want to park their funny bones at the nearest skating rink. Although relentlessly ridiculous in its twirling figure-8 foolishness, Blades of Glory is a frozen, freakish farce that constantly tickles the numbing noggin.
Co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (along with co-screenwriters Jeff and Craig Cox) concoct a display of infantilism that strangely works on the scale of wayward hilarity. Blades of Glory doesn’t measure up on the “hearty hoot” charts in comparison to some of the other mindless free-spirited fare that Farrell and co-star Jon “Napoleon Dynamite” Heder have been involved with previously. Still, Ferrell and Heder give Blades the nonsensical and nutty allure to persist as an empty-minded vehicle for off-kilter gags. So if you don’t mind the inevitable scenario of watching “Ricky Bobby and Napoleon Dynamite lacing up their skates” then it’s suggested that you check your brain cells at the door.
Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) are rival skaters that end up teaming together in the long run. First, both men are subjected to being banned from the men’s singles competition after their well-known personal conflicts escalate into public feuding. Resorting to menial jobs that involve skating on a low level the guys eventually get back into the ice-skating game on a technical loophole—they can actually compete in the pair’s division. The question remains this: will the overly aggressive pot-bellied Chazz—a former world champion figure skater—learn to co-exist with his effeminate blonde choreograph-loving partner Jimmy? Clearly, the two combatants play like The Odd Couple meet the Ice Capades.
In order to ensure that Chazz and Jimmy click in championship form they are being trained by Jimmy’s tough-as-nails former coach (Emmy-winning actor Craig T. Nelson). In fact, the Michaels-MacElroy connection must prevail if they are to face the music and challenge the presence of a fanatical championship-proven brother-sister act (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). Can Chazz and Jimmy conquer their differences and concentrate on the ultimate prize at large? Will this one-joke premise of a movie rise to the climatic occasion? How will our troubled tandem hilariously take on the self-absorbed skating siblings?
For the sake of offering a lazy conclusion, Blades of Glory is what it is…meaningless mockery meant to impishly ridicule the conventional nature of figure ice-skating. This is yet another sports-oriented chuckler where the random high jinks are thrown in to see if anything sticks to the wall of blind wit. Invariably, Blades of Glory certainly has its fair share of arbitrary gay-induced jokes and the smirking ice-skating sight gags are frequently palatable. The reaction to Ferrell and Heder basically playing the familiar schtick is a mixed bag—on one hand, it is a welcomed slaphappy occurrence to behold. However, Ferrell and Heder also flirt with grating on the nerves, too. The movie can be cheap and insulting at times but also surprisingly inspired in its inane presentation.
Figure skating enthusiasts will probably get a kick out of the cameos of ice-loving icons such as Nancy Kerrigan, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Sacha Cohen as well as old school vets Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. The supporting players contribute to the loopy spirit as intended. Nelson is gleefully menacing as the demanding coach that is determined to whip the boorish Chazz and anal retentive Jimmy into shape. Jenna Fischer (from NBC-TV’s “The Office”) effectively sparkles as Jimmy’s love-interest-to-be. Current SNL cast member Poehler and Arnett are deviously fun-loving as the vile opponents. As for the leading lunatics in Ferrell and Heder they convincingly ham it up as they only know how to do in delightfully dimwitted, free-wheeling fashion.
This is not what one would call a high concept comedy. Nevertheless, Blades of Glory offers a big finish on the ice as the sideline judges (mainly the audience) will ultimately decide the scoring on the cards. Hey, one can never get enough of watching Ferrell parade around in his briefs while screeching the catchy tune “My Humps”, right? Curiously for some, this may even sweeten the pot more. Go figure, huh?
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