BLADES OF GLORY

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Blades of Glory Cover I wonder how the concept of ice-skating was first devised? Was it something to do with an Eskimo accidentally stepping on to his own knife and fork, and then skidding off into infinity and beyond? Err - maybe? Though I'm sure that these guys know better than me. Director: John Gordon; and Actors: Will Ferrel and Jon Heder. Particularly for 93-minutes in 2007.


Blades of Glory


THE STORY:
Welcome one and all to the wonderful world of ice skating. Here you will find bold characters like orphan, Jimmy MacElroy (John Heder) - a prim and proper performer with a blondish swagger, and a very prissy attitude to match. Plus there’s someone like sex-addict, Chazz Michaels (Will Ferrel), too - a lone wolf with a brash attitude that is only surpassed by his own outlandish antics upon the ice.

However, what do you think happens when these two diametrically opposite figure-skaters tie at the World Winter Sport Games finals? Correct - they argue- they fight - and they both get banned from ice-skating for life.

Sh*t!

Now three years after this frosty confrontation, both Chazz and Jimmy find themselves pursuing a completely different career path and lifestyle altogether. Chazz is a fat drunken wizard who performs to tiny-tots on a Ice Capades show. Whereas Jimmy is a nice shoe clerk in a branch of 'Foot Locker'.

Ha! But not for that much longer!

You see, one day, an old fan of Jimmy’s, Hector (Nick Swardson), tells him about a strange loophole in the ban - one that will allows him to compete in ‘pair’ figure-skating instead of 'singles' figure-skating. In turn, Jimmy goes off to see his old coach, Robert (Craig T. Nelson), and asks him if he can somehow help him use this information to his advantage, just so he can get back into the game again.

But is Robert able to do this fro Chazz? Especially since the time frame available to enter the new ice-skating competition is so near? Also, who will become Jimmy's new partner?

No. Not Chazz surely! They'd obviously clash again, and get thrown in jail. Yes - they do that - and on live television no less. Nevertheless, this brash incident thrusts Jimmy and Chazz into a strange pact, joined together with both blade and bravado to enter the figure-staking contest as a ‘male pair’.

Granted, at first, they both think that this is a dreadful idea - well, they are two men who hate each others guts. Still, Robert is a somewhat crafty coach by nature, and with the use of subtle goading and cleaver word play, they both agree - err - in a round about way.

Now this agreement sets a course for both Chazz and Jimmy to live together – practice together – learn how to dance together – perform together – and obviously, over time, bond together as friends.

But wait a God damned minute! What about their new arch rivals, brother and sister combo Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler)! Plus their put-upon sister, Katie (Jenna Fischer), too? Are they able to throw the proverbial spanner in the works? Because Chazz does start to develop a bit of a crush on Kate don't you know.

Maybe. And that is why what next transpires is like scraping a steel blade across your partners neck. As contests are fought - deals are bought - love is in the air - and don't ice-skaters have such lovely hair?




THE REVIEW:
Conceptually, 'Blades of Glory' is a sports comedy set in the same vein as Zoolander (click here for review) and Dodgeball (click here for review). Plus, in my most humble opinion, is a much better comedy too.

You see, at first glance, although Will Ferrel, Jon Heder, comedy, and ice-skating, may all sound like a very strange combination for a film. When you throw into the mix some broad humor, a basic plot, simple execution, and a sport that can be both dangerous and elegant at the same time, what you get is four very different elements that I really-really enjoy watching (yes, that does include ice-skating).


Jon and Will in Blades of Glory


Fair enough, I know that there are a number of fundamental flaws within this film which makes it come across as kind of pat - like the whole ‘Sister loves Jimmy’ sub-plot for example, which the ‘bad guys’ use to break 'the guys' apart. Nonetheless, the film is fun, and has a nice relaxed way of not trying too hard to make the jokes work or the plot blatant. Heck,  'Blades of Glory' just has a confidence about it which is rather pleasant to behold.

But why is that I wonder? Where does this dumbfounded confidence come from? Will and Jon most probably - because this double act really do work together very well on screen. For a start, they’re both funny to look at as a pairing - one of them is skinny, whilst the other one is broad. Next, I would have to say that their different styles of comedy mesh very well together - both on a verbal and a slap-stick level. And finally, they seem to have a similar warped exuberance - as if they don’t really care how they’re perceived at all.


Sexy Girl in Blades of Glory


OK, maybe it’s also something to do with the humility which brightens the screen whenever they are on it at the same time? Or maybe some filmic-facts could clarify matters a little bit more for me, huh? (1) There was a lot of inspirational real life aspects sewn of this film. Firstly, the writers of this flick, Jeff and Craig Cox, was inspired by the 2002 Olympic Winter Games figure skating scandal to develop this picture, when two contestants had to share a gold-medal. Secondly, the Nancy Kerrigan attack in the 1994 Olympics, inspired the "below the knee and above the ankle" quote. Plus thirdly, Elvis Stojko skating style inspired Chazz Michael's style of skating too. (2) Jon Heder broke his ankle while training to ice-skate. Will did not damage anything apart from his ego. (3) The brother / sister combo, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, are married in real life. (4) Ben Stiller refused to play the part of Chazz Michaels, because he thought that it was too much like some of the other roles he had played previously. (5) Most of Will Ferrells's dialogue was improvised or changed in this movie in one way or the other. (6) This films given name was originally "Partners". (7) Craig T. Nelson played a part called 'Coach' for eight years in a sit-com by the same name.  (8) There are quite a few real-skater cameos in this film, such as Brian Boitano, Sasha Cohen, Peggy Fleming, Scott Hamilton, Nancy Kerrigan, Dorothy Hamill, Kyoko Ina, Yuka Sato, Jamie Salé, and David Pelletier. Moreover, Lisa Marie Allen appeared as the Mom who got her faced liked by Will, and was the assistant skating choreographer also. And (9) This clip illustrates what I love about this nutty movie...




Overall, 'Blades of Glory' is a really nice and easy going film to watch. It's dramatic in places, silly in others, inane at a touch, and by in large is a really great comedy to sit back and relax to. In addition to this, it is also a must see for all Will Ferrel and John Heder fans everywhere, plus fans of Ben Stiller style comedies and ice-skating.

THE RATING: B+