It is the sport of sports, a place for masculine men to flex their muscles and fierce women to show their strength. It is a sport where both sexes are like men, where gladiators unleashe their true levels of testosterone upon the world. Yes, I'm talking about figure skating. My most favorite sport behind baseball, football, hockey, soccer, golf, ultimate Frisbee, cow tipping and just ahead of curling, figure skating finally gets the film treatment it deserves: Blades of Glory.
Littered with cameos from the likes of Nancy Kerigan, Brian Boitano and Sasha Cohen, Blades of Glory stars the perfect pairing of Will Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder (I'll stop referring to him as such when he does a movie that separates him from that identity) as two rival figure skating champions who are exiled from men's competition for life - but not pair's competition. Putting their differences aside, but not really, the two join forces to become the first man-on-man figure skating pair, and take on incestuious brother-and-sister pair Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). Of course, what would a movie like this be without a strange love triangle, as Heder's character falls for the Van Waldenbergs' ignored sister (Jenna Fischer, of NBC's "The Office"), while she is forced by her older brother and sister to seduce Ferrell's character, who's a sex addict. Crazy times!
Blades of Glory is much like Ferrell's other recent comedies that make fun of common household jokes (soccer coaches, anchormen, NASCAR, among others), as figure skating is one of the sports that attracts a lot of attention during the Olympics (yes, even I watch figure skating then) all the while it gets joked about as being full of gay men in ridiculously sparkly outfits. For whatever reason, perhaps to stay clear of too much controversy regarding homosexual jokes, Blades of Glory is relatively light on the gay humor - except for the fact that the movie is about two men figure skating together. Most pairs figure skating routines are fairly sensual in nature, which makes the pairing all the better, and even if their act isn't very sensual, the two still have to hold each other in fairly uncomfortable places (leading to probably the funniest scene of the movie).
Overall, Blades of Glory is consistently funny from beginning to end, as both Ferrell and Heder play off each other quite well. I'm still questionable on whether Heder can ever break out of his Napoleon Dynamite mode completely, or whether he should - his acting skills may be limited to this kind of humor. Still, he's pretty funny here (and once again gets a fairly memorable hairstyle), and Ferrell is his usual self. There aren't as many huge laughs as some of Ferrell's other comedies have, but Blades of Glory thankfully doesn't rely on him so much to carry the scenes. My biggest problem with Ferrell recently has been that while he is a funny guy, his movies have generally all been the same: he shouts the screenplay and makes an otherwise drab script into something humorous. It gets old after a while. Blades of Glory doesn't completely veer away from that strategy, but directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck have thrown in enough goofy antics to ensure that Ferrell is only a piece of the puzzle.
Arnett ("Arrested Development") and Poehler ("SNL") also are pretty funny in supporting roles. Arnett is especially good.
Blades of Glory isn't the most amazing comedy ever made, but if you are fans of Ferrell or Heder, you will be laughing from beginning to end. Recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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