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"Blades of Glory"

Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
Written by Jeff Cox and Craig Cox.
Starring Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler and Craig T. Nelson.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  4/8/07


Amazingly, I never saw a trailer for "Blades of Glory" before it came out, but the one still shot I saw a few months ago featuring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as a pairs skating duo made me laugh out loud, so when I had a free ticket to use on this movie I did so...and, hit the brakes, this movie was nearly a complete piece of shit.

Although I would say this--"Blades of Glory" is a lot better if you HAVEN'T seen any other mockumentary comedies by either Ferrell himself or the growing family of comrades that Ferrell normally works with, like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, etc.  In fact, if you have seen ANY of the movies by any of the men in this paragraph, skip "Blades of Glory" altogether.  There isn't nearly enough new in this film to warrant seeing it because there are many better examples of this kind of humor already available on DVD.

Ferrell stars as Chazz Michael-Michaels, a bad boy on the international skating circuit tour who is a dominant men's singles skater; his main rival, a prissy girlish guy named Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), is trying to take the gold medal at a 2002 competition that the two men are competing for when their individual routines end with identical scores, meaning that the two have won a shared gold medal.  A fight ensues on the podium, and after a review by the World Figure Skating Association, both men are banned for life from skating singles ever again.  Three years later, the two are re-united by Jimmy's former coach (Craig T. Nelson) because of a loophole in skating by-laws: the sex of a skater doesn't matter when it comes to pairs skating, and the only way these two men can reclaim their past glory is by combining their talents to try and win gold as a men's pair...the only thing in their way is the world's dominant skating pair, the brother-and-sister Van Waldenberg tandem of Stranz (Will Arnett) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler) who will stop at nothing to take down the male twosome.

What was interesting to me during my screening (which was probably half full by the time everyone settled into their seats) was just how mum the crowd was.  Judging from the laughter during the previews--which included that preview for the upcoming Adam Sandler/Kevin James comedy "Chuck & Larry"--people were amped for a good time during "Blades of Glory", but a slow start never turned into a full recovery.  There were never any great comic bits in this film; there were a couple of laughs courtesy of the intro bios on each male superstar (ripped directly from the Stiller/Wilson cult classic "Zoolander"), and a couple of times, folks laughed when skaters hit the deck, but for the most part, Ferrell's schtick is getting really tired really fast when it comes to playing the overweight alcohol-friendly "sexpot"...even some of his lines in "Blades of Glory" feel like Ferrell is rehashing this character from notes he took during "Talladega Nights" or bits from "Saturday Night Live."

Heder is the better of the two in "Blades of Glory", but his character is nothing special, either; the supporting cast here is weak, even featuring a love interest (Jenna Fischer) that fails to register...part of me thought, and still thinks, that "Blades of Glory" could have been funnier if the Heder character actually WAS gay, instead of making him just look like he's gay in terms of costume and appearance and playing up the whole myth that all guys who skate are gay.  For a movie, this would have been funnier; as it is, dedicating even 30 seconds to a romantic angle in "Blades of Glory" falls flat on its face.  There isn't even that much skating in "Blades of Glory"--none by anyone who can actually pull off any of these moves--leaving us with as little of the actual sport being mocked as any sports comedy or mockumentary I have ever seen...shit, there aren't even any competitor skaters in "Blades of Glory", as if the four best skaters in the world are played by Poehler, Arnett, Ferrell and Heder.  Come on!  Skating is a tough sport to make fun of, and it shows throughout this film.

But, most importantly, "Blades of Glory" is not very funny; I wouldn't even watch this again if it came on TV.  Not the bottom of the barrel bad, but close.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09