April 1, 2007

Movie Review: Blades of Glory

Are you ready for a little slice of brilliance? Well, that is going a little too far, but there is no denying that Blades of Glory has some very funny moments, enough to carry the film through to the end, while not offering up as much satire as there could have been. This is a movie that was made to be an over the top spectacle, it was not made to have any type of hard hitting commentary on the sport of figure skating. In that respect, it is kind of like the step brother to Ferrell's NASCAR parody, Talladega Nights.

The story centers on the rivalry between Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell), a drunken sex-addict rock star of a skater, and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), an effeminate perfectionist who lacks spirit. During Olympic competition, the polar opposite duo tie for the gold, this leads to an altercation that results in their permanent expulsion from men's figure skating competition. This sends the two on a downward spiral into oblivion. Chazz, the man who needed no one else has found help in a bottle and with whatever women he can find, while Jimmy works a sporting goods store. Then through a stroke of genius, it is uncovered that they can still compete in pairs, leading to the unlikely pairing of the two rivals.

Blades of Glory covers familiar ground and doesn't really strike out in any new directions. The biggest problem with the film is that it moves along in spurts and leaps rather than having a strong flow. The plot moves along in those in between areas that link the moments where Ferrell can carry the comedic weight. Heder has his moments, but feels rather flat when he doesn't have Ferrell to carry him, much like the characters skating.

What it lacks for in cohesion it makes up for in enthusiasm. Ferrell takes a hold of Chazz and dives in with all of the scene chewing gusto he can muster, and what he musters is a hilarious. The supporting cast does a fine job at adding to the comedy here, featuring the rival brother/sister pair played by real world couple Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, Craig T. Nelson, Jenna Fischer, and cameos by a number of skating luminaries, including Scott Hamilton, Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, and Sasha Cohen.

For all of the problems the film may have, the over the top characters that are delivered more than make up for the problems. I think it may have just been the right movie for me at the moment. I went in with no expectations other than to laugh. That's right, all I wanted was something to make me laugh, I wasn't looking for a deep critique on the perceived gayness of the sport, or for anything particular for that matter.

Bottomline. Perfect? No. Funny? Most definitely. It is the prototypical popcorn flick, it doesn't demand anything from the viewer other than a desire to laugh at some absurdist fare. The movie is peppered with hilarious bits with enough plot linking material to carry you through. It may not be at the same level of Talladega Nights or Anchorman, but it still delivers the goods. Just go see it and prepare to laugh.



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