Posts Tagged ‘will ferrell’

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BLADES OF GLORY (2007)

August 12, 2007

Blades of Glory review
Blades of Glory

Matt: Three and a half Stars
Tracy:
Three and a half Stars

Length: 93min

Tagline:

Kick some ice.

Review by Matt:

One day I’d like to see a well-put-together montage of the best toilet humour from Earth’s 105 years of cinema. I don’t even have to think too hard for many images to immediately spring to mind: Jeff Daniels panicking from a laxative attack in Dumb and Dumber, Ewen McGregor crawling down the bowl in Trainspotting, the restroom assassin in Austin Powers. And since seeing Blades of Glory, I can add Jon Heder on the bathroom floor doing, well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Making it into the toilet montage isn’t a distinguished achievement in itself. What is an achievement though, is that Blades of Glory taps that special, deep-rooted power that the toilet holds over the human psyche in a way that will make us laugh (and also simultaneously moan – a strange squawking sound). And the film is able to keep making us laugh, even though it actually rarely dives into the toilet bowl. Blades of Glory is more of a silly parody or satire than a gross-out comedy. It’s daft, the plot is flimsy, but it’s hilarious and it seems to know just where to mine to find the laughs.

Blades of Glory tells the story of Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, from Napoleon Dynamite) who are the fire and ice of the male ice-skating circuit. Michaels is a bestial womaniser, described by one admiring commentator as “an ice-devouring sex-tornado”. MacElroy is the innocent and graceful angel, driven by a forceful billionaire father, so ambitious that he had Jimmy circumcised to minimise air resistance. They’re the equal champions of the sport. That is until they earn a life long ban after a shameful brawl at the Winter Games. The only way the two can subvert the ban is to reluctantly join forces for a comeback – as the world’s first male figure skating pair.

And that’s the wellspring for the comedy. There are some hilariously unique skating performances (the duo’s uncomfortably homo-erotic routine honestly brought tears to my eyes), some awkward romance, and some typical ice-skating treachery (supplied by a villainous ice-skating couple played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). A particularly enjoyable aspect of the film is the effort it takes to ridicule the ostentatious and slightly unhealthy world of sports such as figure-skating and their over-competitive participants. The filmmakers have breathed the polluted breath of ice-skating into the characters: Chazz and Jimmy have strange histories that are revealed to us by rapturous commentators, they’ve splendid flamboyant costumes, CGI effects permit them to skate like champions, and they’re surrounded by a cast of eccentrics such as an obsessive stalker and a coach who pressures them to skate stunts with a high probability of death.

Will Ferrell is delightfully shameless as the macho and pathetic Michaels. He milks his Jim Morrison-esque character for as much gross sexuality as possible. “I thought you’d like to see what a real skater’s body looks like,” he boasts to MacElroy at one point, thrusting out his naked, hairy paunch. Heder is funny too, though much more muted than Ferrell. He’s often the backboard for Ferrell’s crassness. It is mainly the way these two play their characters that gives the humour its sting.

I can see how not everyone would enjoy watching ninety minutes of idiotic and indecorous behaviour by homophobic male ice skaters. But they’re not there for you to identify with – they’re there to laugh at. Your expectations need to be in the right place. On the poster for the film, Ferrell holds Heder above his head by his crotch, striking an elegant yet defiant skating pose. It should be obvious then that this is going to be slapstick farce and not Schindler’s List. Blades of Glory really has trawled up a lot of neat ice skating jokes – I never thought there’d be that much amusement in this topic. But it’s no more complicated than that. And, like most films earning a place in the toilet-humour montage, it is pretty low-brow. But unlike most films of its ilk, it skates the genre genuinely well, so that you should be guaranteed an evening of easy, jolly laughs.

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