Blades of Glory

2007-08-03 17:07
What it’s about:

In the world of competitive figure skating, you don’t get more different than macho sex symbol Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and blonde-haired waif Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). When they tie for first place at the Winter Games, the pair gets into a brawl that sees them banned from singles skating for life. Then they discover a loophole that allows them to compete – as a pair.

What we thought of it:

Comedy is a strange beast. So many movies that look screamingly funny on paper fail to deliver in reality (Starsky & Hutch for example). And then you get a big, dumb, sweaty satire that makes fun of the most obvious target of all time – male figure skating – and throws in some not too subtle hints of homophobia. And, you know what, it’s hilarious.

The movie’s extremely talented leads deserve a lot of the credit. Ferrell and Heder have very different comedy styles, but in this case the friction is constructive, throwing off sparks of unexpected delight. In the funniest scenes they have the kind of loose-but-precise timing that made Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn such a delight to watch in The Wedding Crashers.

Almost all the best humour comes from the dumb-but-knowing dialogue, which snaps and crackles between Ferrell and Heder.
Chazz: This guy could not hold my jock sweat.
Jimmy: I could hold it all day long, try me!
…and so on. It’s this kind of cheeky, wicked writing that carries the movie – writing that looks so easy to do, but is actually hard to get just right.

Not that the physical routines aren’t amusing in their own way. The prat falls and crotch-to-face skating moves will delight fans of high-end slapstick. But the truly funny stuff is normally going on in the background and off the ice. Watching Chazz strut around in a towel, supremely confident in his flabby masculinity, and musing on the origin of his tattoos, you get a sense that there’s a lot more going on under the hood than might at first appear.

That’s equally true of the supporting cast, who do a wonderful job of keeping the quirky energy of the movie skipping along. Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are particularly delightful as Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg - the slightly psychotic brother-sister pair who are our heroes’ main rivals. Like Ferrell and Heder they show an unexpectedly deft touch for timing.

Another joy comes from the movie's inventive and beautifully executed costumes. Like the movie itself, it’s tempting to see them only for what they are on the surface – amusing parodies of an often pretentious sport. But look beyond the comedy and you’ll see some really dazzling workmanship.

For all the pot shots it takes at its subject, Blades of Glory is an affectionate affair. Sure, it delights in skewering pomposity, but it stops short of tearing the whole sport to pieces. And it’s this inherent kindness that largely neutralises what could easily have been a mean-spirited exercise in stereotype bashing.

Whatever it’s strengths, Blades of Glory is essentially a single running joke. You better think that the idea of two pompous, macho idiots skating as a pair is at least mildly funny or you’re not going to enjoy yourself at all. But, while it may be a one-joke movie, that joke is played to the hilt with the kind of madcap energy that is hard to resist.

- Alistair Fairweather
Blades of Glory is a lot like its stars - gloriously silly, unapologetically vulgar and often extremely funny.

Andre Jardim 2008/01/08 4:08 PM
Deliciously silly I will admit it, I am a Will Ferrel fan, ever since I first saw him in Superstar and in Anchorman. Admittedly he has had a few flops, but here in Blades of Glory, along with Jon Heder, Will Ferrel brings his goods. It is utterly silly, crass and irreverent. And it is as high camp as it comes - but then again, so is figure-skating! If you are looking for a good belly-laugh of a movie, do yourself a favour and watch this!
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