I caught an early screening of the new film “Blades of Glory” this week. Usually Will Ferrell is a lot of fun to watch, but this one falls flat. If in your movie-watching diet, you cannot over look some of the vulgarity present in such contemporary films, no need to read further. This movie is not for you.
“Blades” spoofs the world of competitive figure skating. Will Ferrell and Jon Heder play skaters who get into a fist fight on the ice and are banned from their sport. They discover that the only way to get back into skating is to compete in the pairs competition. Thus they decide to become the world’s first male/male figure skating pair. Cue the bucket loads of “we’re-straight-men-stuck-in-gay-situations” jokes.
For anyone who has seen Ferrell bang on the cowbell with the exuberance usually only found in a five-year-old, or proclaim with unbelievable sincerity, “Smiling is my favorite!” this premise is full of comic potential. But due to weak writing, “Blades” is horribly lacking compared to his most recent films. Ferrell as Chaz Michael Michaels, figure skating’s ‘bad boy,’ comes across and a big dumb brute through the entire film. This performance lacks the nuance of “Talladega’s” Ricky Bobby. Ricky, despite his clueless arrogance, had a good heart and thus a certain level of likability. Chaz engenders no such accommodation from the viewer.
“Napoleon Dynamite’s” Jon Heder shows off his complete lack of acting skill as Chaz’s nemesis-turned-partner Jimmy MacElroy. Heder is painful to watch and slows down the movie more than anything else. As the evil brother\sister skating pair planning the downfall of our heroes, the very funny Will Arnett and Amy Pohler have little to do but act goofy. If the script is good that can be enough to make for a good movie. Since it’s not, it’s not.
On the up side, there are a few good one-liners and slap-stick moments that give you a few chuckles. Chaz and Jimmy try to perfect an incredible risky move dubbed “the Iron Lotus” that will result in decapitation if done incorrectly. If only real figure skating was so dangerous. In addition, the film is filmed with cameos from real professional skaters, which is a nice touch. Scott Hamilton especially is brilliant as he narrates the many zany routines with absolute earnestness. It’s nice to see that they can take a joke.
Overall a disappointment, “Blades of Glory” doesn’t hold a candle to last year’s hilarious “Talladega Nights.” For more on the film check out our official Crosswalk review from Lisa Rice.