Funny ‘figure' Ferrell lands it, but degree of difficulty not too high

Blades Of Glory

on March 30, 2007 by Chad Greene
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“I don't see what's so funny,” snaps Coach (Craig T. Nelson, TV's…er, Coach ) when fallen figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) scoff at his suggestion that they compete as a pairs team.

“If you were as drunk as me, you would,” shoots back Chazz.

Although theatergoers need not follow the example of “skating's outlaw” and sneak a flask in to get a laugh out of Blades of Glory, the level of subtlety here — or lack thereof — certainly doesn't demand stone-cold sobriety. Ferrell cuts a funny figure, but the comedy here isn't exactly Cutting Edge. All too often, the skating terms it brings to mind are “compulsory” and “routine.”

Mismatched misfits for leads? Check.

As the head-to-head singles duel that opens the picture demonstrates, there couldn't be two more dramatically different approaches to the sport. Jimmy, in a skintight costume with feathers above his ass and a sequined sleeve and glove that emulate a peacock's head and neck, sedately skates to Andrea Bocelli's “Time to Say Goodbye” — a performance Chazz delightfully dismisses as “cirque du so-lame.”

Chazz's animal avatar is the “lone wolf” tooled into the leather of his black vest; his song of choice, Billy Squier's “The Stroke”; his personal philosophy, “clothing optional.”

When the two tie for the gold, their rivalry continues on the podium. A brawl breaks out, and an outraged panel of skating officials played by Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming subsequently strips them of their medals and bans them for life — from singles competition.

Their road to redemption is paved by none other than Jimmy's stalker (Nick Swardson, Reno 911!: Miami ). Deadpanning “nobody can obsess like I can,” he discovers a legal loophole that will allow them to compete again — as a couple, much to the chagrin of reigning brother-and-sister champs Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (real-life comedic couple Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, priceless).

Mismatched misfits must overcome hatred for each other before they can overcome opposition? Check.

Practicing in a storage unit flooded with a garden hose, Chazz and Jimmy struggle to master not only their mutual dislike but also a maneuver known as the Iron Lotus — so deadly that, on a grainy video smuggled out from behind the “bamboo curtain” we see a North Korean skater accidentally behead his partner while performing it.

But the true secret to success, according to Farrell's character, is “called ‘improvisation' — even your precious Kenny G does it.”

And, indeed, Blades is most gloriously goofy in those moments when Ferrell follows his own advice and leaps above the compulsory comedy. Distributor: Paramount/DreamWorks
Cast: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson, Romany Malco, William Fichtner and Rob Corddry
Directors: Will Speck & Josh Gordon
Screenwriters: Jeff Cox & Craig Cox and John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky
Producers: Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld and John Jacobs
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references
Running time: 93 min.
Release date: March 30, 2007

Tags: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson, Romany Malco, William Fichtner, Rob Corddry, Directors, Will SpecJosh Gordon Screenwriters, Jeff Cox, Craig Cox, John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky, Producers, Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, John Jacobs
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