Blades of Glory
Yes, Will Ferrell is once again playing a macho jerk in dire need to learn some life lessons--in spandex and ice skates, no less. But honestly, can anyone else do it better?
Blades of Glory is just another one those foolproof Will Ferrell comedies, in which he plays someone on top who falls from grace only to come out of it a wiser person. OK, maybe wiser is a strong word, but at least he's a better person. Maybe better is the wrong word, too. Oh, whatever. You catch my drift. This time Ferrell plays Chazz Michael Michaels, a male figure skater who is all id and uses his improvisational techniques on the ice to woo the ladies. Chazz's only real competition is Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), a precision skater who is all about the details, especially when he executes his trademark peacock move. Of course, they hate each other and in an embarrassing, no-holds-barred fight at the World Championships, they are stripped of their gold medals and banned from the sport for life. Now, three-and-a-half years later, they've found a loophole that will allow them to compete: If they can put aside their differences, they can skate together--in pairs' figure skating. Let the games begin!
Even though he has proven to be successful at this kind of stuff, Ferrell is still considered an acquired taste by some. But for those of us who know he could make a Coke Icee blow out of our noses just by reading the phone book, he never grows tiresome. He had some excellent support in Blades of Glory as well. Finally starting to really shed his alter ego Napoleon Dynamite, Heder is in top form as the prissy MacElroy, the smart one--if you can believe it--in the duo. He ends up getting a romantic interest as well, in the form of Jenna Fischer. Slightly less mousy than she is on The Office, Fischer plays the hapless sister/slave to the brother and sister pair figure-skating duo and reigning champs, Fairchild and Stranz Van Waldenberg, played to malicious hilt by SNL's Amy Poehler and Arrested Development's Will Arnett, respectively. Also watch out for Craig T. Nelson as the boys' unorthodox coach; Romany Malco (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as their hip-hop choreographer; veteran character actor William Fichtner as Jimmy's adoptive millionaire father and many other well-placed cameos.
Blades of Glory must have been an easy sell for producer Ben Stiller and his Red Hour Productions partner Stuart Cornfield, who were able to stock the film with some great comedic talent. Newbie co-directors, Will Speck and Josh Gordon, are more an afterthought since all they really have to do is point and shoot. Maybe not as edgy as say Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy but certainly more cohesive than Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Blades simply follows a tried and true formula, with very little missteps but hardly any surprises either. The best part? The opening sequence, from the skating routines to the fisticuffs which lead to setting a mascot on fire. Good stuff. Blades is just dumb fun.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.