Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Premise: A comedy about two rival figure skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) who are kicked out of the solo category and must team up to become the first male pair in the sport.
What Works: Blades of Glory is at its best when the film satirizes, lampoons, and otherwise ridicules figure skating and the culture of the sport. There are lots of jokes in the dialogue and cameos in the background that make the film a Where’s Waldo? of figure skating. Both Ferrell and Heder have made careers out of playing lovable idiots and this film allows the two to do their shtick. As ladies man Chazz Michael Michaels, Ferrell has the better part and he delivers a more dynamic performance than Heder by departing slightly from his usual role and playing a darker character, although both actors do well enough. The film is almost stolen by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as a brother and sister skating team who attempt to sabotage our hero’s attempt at Olympic glory. The two play their roles with a vicious and perverse delivery that is more fun to watch than Ferrell and Heder’s freak show.
What Doesn’t: Films in which every character is an idiot are demanding on the viewer and can be tiring to get through because it is hard to cheer for characters that are so stupid. The laughs in Blades of Glory are not as big as one might expect. This is because humor depends on reversals of expectation and much of Blades of Glory works through the same scenarios and plot points seen in other sports comedies. While none of it is all that bad, there is a sense that the film is playing it safe by going through the motions rather than working toward some new comedic territory.
Bottom Line: Blades of Glory is on par with films like Happy Gilmore and the remake of The Longest Yard. Nothing in it is very spectacular, but fans of the lead actors should find the film an enjoyable couple of hours. Fans of figure skating may want to check it out for all the well laid in-jokes and cameos by Olympic skaters.
Episode: #140 (May 6, 2007)