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Movie Review: Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Written by Jeff Cox, Craig Cox, John Altschuler, David Krinsky, and Busy Philipps

Blades of Glory feeds off that Zoolander shtick, pitting two men in decidedly feminine roles and the characters trying not to make it seem gay at all.  Ben Stiller, the director and star of Zoolander, serves as a producer here.  For awhile, this comedy is downright hilarious.

Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) was adopted by soulless billionaire Darren (William Fichtner) at an early age in order to win gold medals in figure skating.  His chief rival is the drunken sex fiend Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell), who approaches the sport with less than grace.  He’s the Happy Gilmore of figure skating, more rock star than athlete.  After tying for the gold in an international event, MacElroy and Michaels fight on the awards stand, make a mockery of the proceedings, and get banned from individual events.

MacElroy’s obsessed fan, Hector (the always funny Nick Swardson), figures out a loophole by which his favorite skater can get back into competition, by entering events in pairs.  A former coach (Craig T. Nelson) sees potential in his pairing with Michaels, with obvious obstacles to overcome having to do with their rivalry.  They eventually team up against the true antagonists of the story, the brother-sister team of Fairchild (Amy Poehler) and Stranz Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett), who use their baby sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) to try to spy on their chief competition as they approach championships held in Montreal.

For a very good stretch from the beginning to the middle, this is about as funny as movies get.  It builds a great amount of comic momentum that seemingly won’t stop.  But it does, eventually, as the film clunkily works its way into setting up the Van Waldenbergs and their evil plot.  I love Jenna Fischer, but her dry line readings a la The Office seem a little out of place in a movie that doesn’t try to be subtle.  That’s not a quibble really, and her moments are often the best part of a bad stretch that lasts until the finale, where the movie finally starts building back some goodwill.

Poehler and Arnett are much funnier than this but aren’t given much to work with, and when Heder and Ferrell start forming a friendship, the comedy seems to disappear, with an occasional hit here and there.  Overall, I would recommend this to people looking for a comedy, as it is laugh-out loud for a good portion.  It also has a great ending gag, and Swardson shows up in the credits in a funny bit.

Much better than I expected, Blades of Glory is Will Ferrell’s best straight-up comedy in quite awhile.


Comment from Jonathan Watkins
Time: March 30, 2007, 10:59 pm

The previews for this make it look terrible, and I cannot stand Jon Heder. But you liking it makes me curious. Might wait till DVD, but I’m more interested than I was. Good write-up.

Also, I feel like I am the only person that is not a fan of Will Arnett. He didn’t detract anything from “Arrested Development,” but that worked as a great ensemble for me more than anything. The only thing I’ve seen him in since then is “Let’s Go To Prison,” which was also a film I found quite a bit funnier than I think it had any right to be. But I didn’t care much for him in it. I think it’s that husky tone to his voice that he always seems to overdo on his line deliveries.

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