Blades of Glory

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the 2002 World Winter Sport Games, rival men’s singles skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell), a skillful skater but raunchy sex addict, and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), an equally talented but sheltered and effeminate skater, tie for gold. An argument ensues, which develops into a fight on the awards podium, ending with the World Games mascot being set on fire. As a result, they are stripped of their medals and banned from men’s singles competition for life. Jimmy’s competitive adoptive father, billionaire Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), immediately disowns him and leaves him stranded on the side of the road.

Three and a half years later, Jimmy is working at a winter sporting goods store and gets demoted to sorting stock after he refuses to listen to a little girl when she tells him her skating boot has been tied too tightly. Chazz is fired from a children’s skating show called “Grublets On Ice” for being in a drunken stupor on stage. Jimmy’s obsessive stalker, Hector (Nick Swardson), tells him of a loophole in the ban allowing him to compete in pair skating. In hopes of entering the upcoming World Winter Sport Games, Jimmy contacts his old coach, Robert (Craig T. Nelson), but is unable to find a partner. Jimmy’s search for a last-minute partner leads him to Chazz, and Robert convinces the two to skate as the first-ever same-sex pairs team, because the regulations fail to state the genders of the pairs.

The reigning U.S. national pairs champions, brother and sister Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler), see the new pair as a threat and conspire against them. The pair convince their sister Katie (Jenna Fischer), whom they often take advantage of by reminding her that their parents died taking Katie to skating practice, to spy on the duo. In the process, Katie becomes acquainted with Jimmy and they develop a relationship. Although Chazz and Jimmy are initially disgusted by each other, they eventually develop a friendship. They compete at the United States Figure Skating Championships and earn a chance to compete at the World Winter Sport Games.

Chazz and Jimmy’s coach, Robert, informs them that to win, they will need to perform a technique that has never been performed successfully: The “Iron Lotus”, an extremely complicated maneuver that Robert developed years ago. However, it is also dangerous: the only attempt of the maneuver was “behind the bamboo curtain” in North Korea, and resulted in the man decapitating the woman with his skate blade. Nonetheless, they decide to attempt it as Robert is convinced that two males would be better suited for the move because of the physics of a same-sex team (this is a parody of skating-themed film The Cutting Edge, where the conflicting main characters also decide to practice a dangerous skating routine). Fairchild commands Katie to disrupt the duo by having sex with Chazz, threatening to harm Jimmy if Katie does not comply. Katie gets Chazz’s attention after attending a sex addict’s meeting as the newest member, then invites Chazz to her room, and tries to seduce him. Chazz refuses, delighting Katie, but cannot resist grabbing her breasts. Jimmy witnesses this and is outraged at Chazz’s and Katie’s betrayals.

The next day, Chazz and Jimmy are both kidnapped and restrained by Stranz and Fairchild. Katie gets tired of her siblings and accepts that their parents were not properly safe while driving. While handcuffing Jimmy in a bathroom, Fairchild reveals that she and Stranz commanded Katie to have sex with Chazz yet she could not go through with it, due to her love for Jimmy. Chazz escapes but is pursued by Stranz through Montréal on ice and then through streets and stores. He tries to shoot Chazz with a crossbow, but accidentally hits the Winter Sport Games Mascot, Snowflake. Jimmy also escapes when a kid in the bathroom knocked down the bin which contains the key for the handcuff, though he had to use his tongue to drag the dirty toilet paper, as the key was on it.

Stranz and Fairchild perform their routine, a dramatization of the “Forbidden Romance” of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Both Chazz and Jimmy arrive in the ice rink just in time to compete. Chazz and Jimmy reconcile quickly and begin their routine, which has a science fiction theme. Fairchild, seeing the two doing well, throws pearls onto the ice. Chazz trips over a pearl and breaks his ankle, which renders him unable to perform his role in the Iron Lotus. Jimmy then offers to switch places with him. Although they have never practiced the other’s roles, they perform it perfectly, with Jimmy’s blade only cutting two small strands of Chazz’s facial hair. Jimmy and Chazz win the competition, Jimmy reconciles with Katie, and Stranz and Fairchild are arrested due to the kidnappings and Snowflake‘s shooting. Stranz and Fairchild begin arguing, then inexplicably kiss each other incestuously before they are handcuffed by the authorities. Jimmy and Chazz receive the gold medal and fly off into the sky through rockets on their skates. During the credits, Hector is seen playing dolls of himself, Jimmy and Chazz.

REVIEW:

Figure skating is perhaps the most popular sport in the winter Olympics. Wouldn’t a comedy spoof about the sport be an instant hit? On paper, I believe it would be, but does Blades of Glory deliver or is it just another Will Ferrell comedy that only a certain audience will appreciate?

What is this about?

When a much-publicized ice-skating scandal strips them of their gold medals, two world-class athletes skirt their way back onto the ice via a loophole that allows them to compete together — as a pairs team.

What did I like?

Fire and ice. I don’t know why, but I am a huge fan of partners/couples that are polar opposites of each other. I think that goes back to when I was growing up listening to Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” every chance I got. Will Ferrell and Jon Heder’s characters couldn’t be more different. One has been trained with the best techniques money can buy, while the other had to do it the hard way on the mean streets of Detroit. I really like how this wasn’t glossed over and while the film didn’t dwell on their pasts, their was an ESPN-type vignette to give us the background on our two leads.

From the ashes. Time after time, athletes end up getting suspended, fined, or worse only to come back and perform at just as high, if not a higher level than when they left. Case in point, Michael Vick. He was on top of the world before everyone crucified him for dog fighting. He went away for a few years, came back and, while he wasn’t as good as when he left, he still did a pretty good job. To this day, he’s still in the NFL, though I believe he is currently injured. What does this have to do with the picture? Well, after setting a mascot on fire because of their personal squabbles. Heder and Ferrell are banned for life. Turns out there is a loophole which allows them to get back in, but they have to skate as a same-sex duo. Not exactly, what they wanted, but hey, it is better than working in a shoe store or doing children’s parties, right?

Cameos. I don’t really follow figure skating, but there are a few names that I know. Almost all of them appear in this film as some type of cameo, giving a bit if, respectability, for lack of a better term, to the proceedings. Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Kerrigan, Sasha Cohen, Scott Hamilton, etc., all make appearances. Kudos to the filmmakers for getting these decorated athletes, and name dropping the ones they couldn’t get, such as Michelle Kwan.

What didn’t I like?

Couple. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are supposedly funny on their own. They had chemistry at one time, since they were married up until not too long ago. I just couldn’t get into them in this film. Maybe it was them being too over the top for my taste, or perhaps it was the brother sister relationship that didn’t sit right with me. I can’t tell you, but I wasn’t buying what they were selling. I think the big reason is they were never really properly introduced as the antagonists, but rather they just happened to be the top couples figure skaters.

Little sister. Jenna Fisher is cute as a button. When she appears in these Will Ferrell movies, he really knows how to play that up. I didn’t like how she was used in this, though. It is obvious that she is the naïve, innocent type, so why have her in a scene that literally strips all that away by having her seduce Ferrell in a corset/nightgown type thing and then for the rest of the film have her revert back to innocence. It doesn’t work!

Papa, can you hear me? Jon Heder’s character is adopted by a rich businessman who had been breeding champion thoroughbreds. Played by William Fichtner, he comes off as aloof and uncaring. It comes as no shock when, after being banned for life, he kicks Heder out of the limo and disowned him. Seems like there would be a plotline there, right? Apparently not, because that is the last we see of him. I would have guessed he would have shown back up when Heder’s career took back off, but nope!

I was really in a mood for a good laugh tonight and Blades of Glory gave me a few of those as well as just an enjoyable movie where I could just shut my brain off for a couple of hours. No, this isn’t a tour de force film, but if you’re expecting that from the like of Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, I seriously have to wonder about you. Do I recommend this? Yes, it isn’t the most coherent film, nor is it the greatest, but it is one that you can always pop in and get a couple of chuckles out of. Give it a go, why don’t you?

4 out of 5 stars

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