When rival figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) go ballistic in an embarrassing, no-holds-barred fight at the World Championships, they are stripped of their gold medals and banned from the sport for life. Now, three-and-a-half years on, they've found a loophole that will allow them to compete: if they can put aside their differences, they can skate together - in pairs' figure skating. (from MovieWeb.com)
It may be hard for movie fans today to realize this as truth, but there once was a time when comedies were smart and sharp without being vulgar or offensive. In fact, and this may be the toughest part to believe, you could actually take your whole family to see a comedy! At this time in film history, there were comedic geniuses like Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and the Marx Brothers. Today, we have actors like Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler. Anyone else notice a little contrast?
Blades Of Glory is the latest unnecessarily crude and vulgar comedy to skate by with a PG-13 rating. The film pairs up actors Will Ferrell and Jon Heder for the first time, which proves to be a surprisingly inspired matchup. Blades Of Glory, however, falters on so many levels, particularly by injecting it with so many frequent sex jokes that not only does it seem random and out of place, but it most of the time is just inappropriate and awkward. The premise of the film, however, is about two male figure skaters who are banned following a disgraceful feud after winning a tie for Gold medals. Years later, the two discover that male figure skating in pairs is a loophole in the system and the men decided to pair up. While a few crude jokes result from this teaming, most of the film's vulgarity stems from Ferrell's character Chazz Michael Michaels being a self-proclaimed sex addict, and the filmmakers behind Blades Of Glory don't let the audience forget it.
The night before I saw Blades Of Glory, I watched a Cary Grant comedy called Talk Of The Town. It's a fantastic movie and the perfect example of creating a wonderful piece of film that's wholesome and witty and anyone can enjoy it. Blades Of Glory is nearly the complete opposite. While much of Blades is ridiculously funny, so much of it is over the top and severely distasteful. The most disturbing part about that is knowing how many young people will see Blades Of Glory because of its stars Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite's Heder. The dialog seems to place an emphasis on sexual relationships when the characters are off the ice - from Ferrel's Chazz attending a sex addicts anonymous meeting to discussing all the famous figure skaters he's slept with to Heder's Jimmy. It's clearly not needed in the film, but takes precedence like most comedies nowadays. What's odd, is most of it has nothing to do with the fact they're a male skating duo. In fact, most of the potential gay jokes that could come out of such a situation is toned down without it being much of a topic in the film (which is definitely a plus).
The film also has a shockingly unexpected gory scene that's played for laughs. While viewing a tape of an infamously difficult skating move being put into practice, we suddenly see the female skater fall to the ground and her head rolls off. We then see a brief closer shot focusing on the resultant blood and "guts" that spilled onto the ice. It's meant to be funny (and to be honest, it's such a shocking moment, that it was difficult not to get grossed out and laugh in response at Heder and Ferrell's expressions as they watch), but it was surprisingly graphic. With the sexual jokes and random violence aside, the plot of the film is pretty original, but does suffer from some forced moments at times. The romance between Jimmy and Katie, who's played by Jenna Fischer from The Office, is awkward and although Fischer is fantastic in the popular TV series, she isn't given much material to work with here and seems out of place amongst the cast (although in some ways, that's probably intended). The romance aspect seemed like an afterthought to attract a wider audience, however it ends up being weaved into the story enough to warrant this one-gag plot to extend to a feature-length film.
What's sad is a lot of the humor produced between Heder and Ferrell when it's not being sexual is often quite funny, and their routine together at the end of the film is priceless. The costumes are brilliant, from a peacock-designed outfit that Heder dons at the start of the film, to blinking retro costumes the guys wear at the film's climax. The film's funniest moments are mostly visual and physical gags, which makes it all the more frustrating when the dialog turns raunchy. The physical comedy really takes off later in the film as a chase scene takes place on ice skates (on and off the ice), a mascot is caught in the crossfire, and one of the central characters must go to great lengths to get out of being handcuffed to a bathroom stall. Some of it is quite smart and funny, however, there's so much junk filling in the gaps that it makes the film nearly unwatchable (think Anchorman meets Talladega Nights on ice).
Overall, there were enough funny parts to Blades Of Glory to make the unfunny and vulgar moments all the more bittersweet to have to swallow. Should the sexual dialog have been omitted, this could have easily have been a comedy to revisit. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and instead we have a film aimed at teens and comedy-lovers that is unwholesome to say the least and crude at best. Not one that I can recommend, and one to make sure the family skips altogether.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 4/3/07)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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