TMN Sports Movie Review: "Blades of Glory"
on 2014-08-13 10:53
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: March 30, 2007
Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Genre: Comedy / Sport
In “Blades of Glory,” disgraced singles figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (James Heder) must overcome their differences and learn how to function as a team to revive their careers. At the beginning of the film, both men are famous skaters, intense rivals and just about to win matching gold medals at an Olympic-caliber competition. Having to share the gold medal causes the two to erupt into a brawl on the winner’s podium, an act which gets Chazz and Jimmy banned from men’s singles figure skating. To make a comeback, doubles figure skating coach, Coach (Craig T. Nelson) brings the two feuding skaters together as the first same sex doubles team.
Everything in “Blades of Glory” is over the top in the best way possible. Chazz is a flabby, tattooed wannabe rock star of a figure skater. He has a leather wardrobe, shaggy hair and an expensive brush that he loves more than anything. Chazz is also an alcoholic, a sex addict and a total caricature of a macho guy. The complete opposite of Chazz is the arrogant, whimpy, whiny Jimmy. Jimmy was adopted by a billionaire, groomed to be a figure skater and believes that he’s entitled to his success. He’s a naïve character and even makes friends with his helpful, yet creepy stalker, Hector (Nick Swardson). In comparison to Chazz’s machismo, Jimmy is a very feminine character, to the point that several people actually think he’s a girl. Pitting Chazz and Jimmy against each other with Coach acting as a buffer is hysterical and forms the majority of the first third of the film. During this act, the two characters are constantly fighting and trying to prove who is the better skater and person. The second third is filled with Jimmy and Chazz grudgingly beginning to form a friendship as they work on their doubles routines and their rivalry with fellow doubles pair Stranz (Will Arnett) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler). The brother and sister team are creepily involved with each other and ruthless in their determination to destroy the competition. When their younger sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) falls for Jimmy, they devise a plan to tear the couple apart. The third act displays Jimmy and Chazz working together to overcome all their obstacles.
The storyline of the film is fairly predictable once the audience knows the basic premise, that two rival skaters have to work together to save their careers. The funny bits come from the unexpected elements, such as Chazz working as an evil wizard in a kids’ ice skating show, Hector being really sweet to Jimmy and then mentioning wanting to make a suit out of his skin and Jimmy and Chazz taking interpretive dance classes to learn to function as a pair. The addition of the almost incestuous relationship between Stranz and Fairchild, the country’s skating sweethearts, further enhances the humor of the film. When Jimmy falls for their equally naïve sister Katie, the innocent awkwardness of that relationship in comparison to the relationship between Stranz and Fairchild and Chazz and practically every woman he meets creates a new jumping off point for writers to continue bringing the laughs to the audience.
Part of the beauty of “Blades of Glory” is that it never takes itself seriously. The film is so exaggerated that there is almost nothing believable about it. The routines performed by the skaters barely resemble figure skating. The pyrotechnics on the ice are similarly impressive. When Jimmy and Chazz enable rocket launchers in their skates at the end, it seems like a fitting ending to the film that they would lift off of the winner’s podium in a fantastic manner and fly out of the arena. If one element of the film had been less of an over the top spectacle, the film wouldn’t work. As it is, the combination of all these elements unifies the look and sound of the film.
“Blades of Glory” is not a serious sports film. It’s not a behind the scenes expose or an example of what figure skating really looks like. It is a truly enjoyable, funny film that is light hearted and keeps the audience laughing from the ridiculous first scenes all the way through to the end. For audiences who are looking for a good time, a belly-aching laugh and something that requires little thought to figure out, “Blades of Glory” is a must-see film. It’s a light-hearted film that’s actually full of heart and definitely worth a watch.