"Blades of Glory"
1 hour, 33 minutes
Will Ferrell has certainly found a niche. With his latest farce, he’s given us a trifecta of “Will Ferrell as (insert semi-serious career choice here)!” He’s been an anchorman, a NASCAR driver, and now a professional ice skater. For those of you out there who are afraid that Ferrell will eventually put away these silly character pieces and try some real acting ala “Stranger than Fiction,” fear not. His next project is slated to be “Semi-Pro,” a farce about minor league basketball. Some will roll their eyes at this, but I say, if his next film has even half of the delirious fun to be had in “Blades of Glory,” more power to him.
The world of professional skating is cutthroat, but for those with the mettle, there is glory to be had. Ferrell is Chazz Michael Michaels, a “tsunami of swagger,” a throbbing, growling sex-demon on ice. He has powered his way to the top of the sport and would dominate the men’s singles division if it were not for one man. His rival? “Napoleon Dynamite’s” Jon Heder, in the form of Jimmy MacElroy, an ice-dancer of precision, dedication and grace. He’s also a big sissy.
When an unexpected tie at the world championships places these two polar opposites on the gold podium together, a hilarious melee ensues, resulting in a lifetime ban for our heroes. What follows are some real lows for the two. Michaels can’t keep a job as the evil wizard in a low-rent kid’s ice show. Seems that booze and after-hours flings with woodland fairies are frowned upon at “Grublets on Ice.” MacElroy’s situation is equally sad, though not nearly as disgusting. After being disowned by his foster father, he finds work as stock boy in a sports shop. When he was a star, MacElroy even had his own stalker, but now, even he is frustrated. “Do you know how hard it is to stalk a has-been?!”
Luckily, this demented soul has a solution that will change the course of not only all their lives, but of professional skating itself. Apparently, though their ban precludes them from ever skating as singles again, there is nothing to prevent them from skating as a team --two men on a doubles skating team? Are they crazy? Like a fox.
It’s easy to call this a Will Ferrell movie, and you’d be correct in doing so, but it would be wrong to discount the great supporting cast that props him up. Jon Heder, who I’m not sure I really like as an actor, does make a perfect foil for Ferrell. Though one is prissy and one is boorish, they have equally far to go accepting the idea of two men touching each other on the ice, and it’s fun to watch their barrier get shattered one by one. Heder has also mastered the look of confused exasperated disgust, a must when working with the bombastic Ferrell characters.
Also very funny are Craig T. Nelson as the coach (get it?), and Amy Poehler and Will Arnett as creepy brother/sister skating villains. One character who I was alternately delighted and disturbed to see was Jenna Fischer, most well-known as Pam from NBC’s “The Office.” She plays the love interest, though I can’t remember what her character’s name was. I just kept thinking, “Hey, it’s Pam!” because that’s essentially who she is playing. If you’re an “Office” watcher then, like me, you are probably in love with Pam, so you can imagine that I was happy to see her. But then, there are a few scenes where Pam has to wear some fairly risqué outfits, and I just didn’t think that seemed right. Also, she falls for Jon Heder --I mean, c’mon! Anyway, the whole thing was just a little weird.
“Blades of Glory” is one of those movies that gives you exactly what it promises. Lots and lots of laughs, and a few things you wish you didn’t have to see. It’s basic in its mission, which is good old-fashioned parody. But where it skewers this beloved sport, it also does it good-naturedly. There are tons of cameos from the skating world, from Nancy Kerrigan to Brian Boitano, suggesting that even these serious athletes are willing to laugh at themselves. From the ridiculously elaborate routines and costumes, to the ridiculous excess of Chazz Michael Michaels, “Glory” isn’t satisfied with just sticking the landing, it does the triple-axel and then shatters the ice. Grade: B+
“Blades of Glory” is rated PG-13 for language, comic violence, and sexual humor.
Chris Jenness is a freelance graphic designer, artist and movie buff who lives in Nikiski.
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