Blades of Glory

Rating:

Stupid…But Funny

Main Cast: Will Ferrell, John Heder

Directors: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

My, oh, my. The things we learn just by going to a simple movie. My recent foray to the theater to see Blades of Glory lent the following insights:

1) It would appear that I will laugh at Will Farrell without a shirt under almost any circumstances.

2) Even a film that veers perilously close to complete stupidity can be both entertaining and a mini sociology experiment at the same time!

Let me explain……

Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) and Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) are at the top of their game, and their game is men’s figure skating. Polar opposites in both personality and style, Chazz and Jimmy have but one thing in common. Despite their popularity, skill and accomplishments, both are banned from the sport they love. Only through the intervention of a masterful piece of stalking are they presented with a way back onto the ice – as a pairs team.

Okay, that’s your movie. The whole thing. Really. Well, there’s a goofy little plotline about some uber-competitive nemeses and a little love story, but for the most part, we’re talking about 93 minutes of Jon Heder and Will Ferrell starring in Dorks On Ice. Excess plot complexity will not be an issue for anyone seeing Blades of Glory. But…..be careful with the giant movie theater soda, that stuff burns when you laugh hard enough for it to come out of your nose. That’s right, Blades of Glory is simple and stupid, and really, really funny.

The comedy here is not so much in the premise, though there are times when the two men skating as a pair pays off in grand fashion, but in the delicious, over-the-top glee with which virtually every member of this production attacks their assigned tasks. From Ferrell and Heder down to the last little Sasha Cohen cameo and whoever designed Jimmy’s first costume, no one lets their dignity get in the way of our entertainment. The jokes aren’t 100% funny (nothing ever is), but the delivery never flags in its enthusiasm or dedication to sheer and utter silliness. It’s wonderful! Figure skating stereotypes are lampooned left and right, Ferrell plays on his less than stellar physique more than once, and Heder pulls out all the stops to make Jimmy as nice and innocent and gaggingly sweet as possible. Even the figure skating world itself gets in on the fun, with numerous cameos from some of the sports biggest stars. Blades of Glory isn’t laughing at figure skating; it’s laughing at stereotypes and caricatures.

There are things that might doom you to a miserable movie experience here, however, and the biggest one is Will Ferrell. You’re going to need a relatively high Farrell threshold to make it through the entire film without getting sick of his schtick. Chazz is a fairly typical Ferrell character, with all sorts of swagger and popularity he clearly doesn’t earn or deserve but Heder does a terrific job not getting dwarfed by all that energy and gives us a second character to cut the Farrell OD potential.

Peripheral performances also add extra bits of juicy comedy fun. Craig T. Nelson is a complete hoot as the crusty old coach determined to grab his brass ring with this unlikely pair. His reaction to their juvenile bickering is priceless. Jenna Fischer is cute as the love interest, though her part is small and she plays the only straight man in the entire film (I guess there has to be at least one, and she’s very good at it). Amy Poehler and Will Arnett ham it up as the rival pairs team in fine fashion. Their plot line wears thin towards the end of the movie and this is the only pair of actors that gets dragged down by their characters after awhile.

Blades of Glory actually succeeds on more than one level. As I mentioned above, seeing this film can be a little experiment if you play your cards right. Clearly being a quick thinker and knowing I could learn something about adults and teenagers, I cleverly arranged to be sitting between a forty-one-year-old man and a thirteen-year-old boy during my Blades of Glory experience. Seems that humor is in the eye of the beholder, and the younger eye and older eye don’t quite see eye-to-eye. During the Sex Addicts Anonymous post meeting make-out hour we have the adult nearly peeing his pants and the teen cringing and looking embarrassed. During the fantastical made-up skating move cutting off the mannequin’s head over and over and over we have the teen almost bursting a vessel and the adult chuckling only a wee bit and only the first time. During the fist fights and bickering between Heder and Ferrell, we have both close to apoplectic (some humor appears to be cross-generational). I see it as a good sign when a parent can enjoy something with his teenaged child, each on his own terms. It’s a rare enough occurrence during adolescence to be savored, even if that savoring must occur with Will Ferrell stuffing rolls in his mouth while walking on a treadmill.

The film definitely holds enough material for both teens and adults to be entertained, but also absolutely earns its PG-13 rating. There’s a whole lot of stuff going on here that will confuse, disgust or just plain creep out younger viewers. You can take that to mean either that one needs to grow into such adult silliness as Ferrell’s first hilariously R-rated skating routine, or that children are far more sophisticated than their elders and just don’t think stupidity, cartoon violence and sexual innuendo are funny – either way, I would recommend leaving the wee ones at home.

Overall, Blades of Glory isn’t going to be changing anyone’s life, it isn’t going to go down as a film classic and it isn’t going to raise the IQ of anyone who sees it. It’s Big Dumb Fun, all the way, with directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck managing to balance the manic energy of Will Ferrell with strong supporting characters and actors. It will definitely be too straight-up stupid for some, but for anyone looking for 93 minutes of completely ridiculous escapism in movie form, it’s a winner. Go, enjoy, be careful with your soda. And, if you can arrange it, sit between an adult and a teenager. Twice the laughs, twice the fun – just like a successful pairs team.

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