Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Freaking Hilarious.  In my review of the Will Ferrell vehicle ‘Talladega Nights’, which in my opinion wasn’t freaking hilarious, I lamented that while I though Mr. Ferrell was a funny dude in supporting roles, like those in ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Starsky and Hutch’, that sketch brilliance just didn’t transfer over when he was headlining, like in ‘Talladega’, ‘Anchorman’, ‘Elf’, ‘Bewitched’, ect…  All of those movies were mildly amusing to certain degrees, but just not gut-bustingly funny in this one man’s opinion.  But damn… then comes ‘Blades of Glory’.  Be forewarned that the trailers and commercials for ‘Blades of Glory’ are LAME!  As such I was fairly certain I was in for yet another marginal comedy with a scattered laugh here and there.  I knew it wouldn’t be ‘Date Movie’ or ‘Epic Movie’ bad, because there was too much talent on hand for that to happen, but I didn’t expect ‘Blades of Glory’ to be nearly as funny as it was.

Farrell is Chazz Micheal Micheals, a rebellious, slow witted, testosterone laden, womanizing male figure skater, which of course in it’s own right is funny.  Not that I’m saying anything about figure skating dudes because I’m sure the majority of them are athletic enough to kick my ass, but you know that’s funny.  His arch rival is Jimmy McElroy as played by Napoleon Dynamites own John Heder.  Where Chazz is the consummate lone wolf, Jimmy is the prodigy, plucked from an orphanage as a child by star maker billionaire Darren McElroy (William Fichtner) and trained from childhood to be a champion figure skater.  At the 2002 winter games, the two skaters, sworn enemies both, end the competition in a tie and have to share the gold.  Neither thinks this is cool, and end up tussling on the podium, setting the Stockholm mascot on fire and shaming this great freedom loving nation of ours.  The resulting fallout is a lifetime ban from singles figure skating, leading to Jimmy becoming un-adopted and Chazz spending his days drunk as a Disney on Ice gnome.

But wouldn’t you know that all is not lost, thanks to a loophole in the rulebook pointed out by Jimmy’s tutu wearing stalker Bryce, played by Nick Swardson, who fans of Reno 911 will instantly recognize as the roller skating male prostitute Terry.  One should never assume, but I’m going to ahead and assume that Nick is like gay for real.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and as a card carrying member of the newly founded Tim Hardaway Center for Sexual Tolerance you know it’s cool with me, I’m just saying is all.

So Jimmy finds out he may be banned for singles, but not for doubles and he needs to find a partner, but quick, to qualify for the 2006 games.  He asks his old coach (Craig T. Nelson) for assistance, but the coach resists at first but comes up with the brainstorm of having the former enemies reunite and form the most awesome team of pairs that can do things the traditional male and female team simply can’t do.  There is obviously resistance from this genius of an idea, but the strongest resistance comes from the borderline incestuous skating duo of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) who will stop at absolutely nothing to bring this duo down.  Including killing them if necessary.

The first question that I ask myself when watching anything was did it accomplish its primary goal, whatever that may have been.  Did the sports make me cheer?  Did the horror movie scare me?  Did the gore fest disgust me? And did the comedy make me laugh, at least more than once.  Blades of Glory had me, somebody who is admittedly fairly easy to entertain, laughing from start to finish.  The jokes in this one come fast, furious, from leftfield and from homeplate and they generally hit their target every time.    They certainly have a lot of fun with the pageantry that surrounds figure skating, and watching Chazz and Jimmy perform their outlandish routines in their ridiculousness is certainly a hoot.  I’d be curious, when the DVD is released, to see how they handled the special effects to make it appear as if Farrell and Heder were actually doing those triple toe double lutzes .  But even though they are poking a lot of fun at the competitive skating community, they take the setting very seriously with figure skating Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton and HBO commentator Jim Lampley (who I’ve never actually seen call a skating event) on board to handle the play by play.  Skating legends Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill, and Peggy Flemming make a cameo along with Sasha Cohen (the skater, not Borat) who catches a jock and sniffs it.  That there would be a good sport if there ever was one.

As far as I’m concerned this is Farrell’s best movie yet, which is saying something since dude is like in a new one every week.  Even Heder, who still has way to go before emerges from Napoleon Dynamite’s formidable shadow was good as well.  Great supporting work from Craig T. Nelson and Romany Malco as the cheeky dance choreographer, Jenna Fischer as Jimmy’s love interest and little sister / indentured servant to the evil Van Waldenbergs, and the Van Waldenbergs themselves who practically steal the movie, ‘Blades of Glory’ is a formula movie that works and works well.  Funnier than the ‘Wedding Crashers’ in my opinion but not quite up to the lofty standards set by a personal fave in ‘The 40-year-old Virgin’, You can’t go wrong with ‘Blades of Glory’.

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