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Blades of Glory

Will Ferrell's back with yet another farcical sports movie where he plays an obnoxious buffoon who likes to run around in his underwear. Not only that, but he's joined by Napoleon Dynamite himself, Jon Heder, as an androgynous skating prodigy in ridiculous lycra costumes.

Now I don't know about you, but if the idea of Ferrell and Heder running around in a predictable movie, with childlike, stupid comedy sounds like a good time to you, all I have to say is… THE LINE STARTS HERE BUDDY.

Blades of Glory is the story of figure skating poster boy Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) and his obscenely rough around the edges rival Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell). Competing with each other for years, their tumultuous rivalry comes to a furious head as they have somewhat of a disagreement at the Winter Sports finals. Banned for life for their little discrepancy at the gold medal ceremony, Michaels and MacElroy fade into obscurity and life moves on.

Three years later, due to an obsessed fan played by Nick Swardson (The Benchwarmers), MacElroy finds a loophole and realizes that he was only banned from singles competition and not doubles. Determined to compete at the championship level again he sets out to find a partner in time for nationals and he yet again crosses paths with Michaels. The two come to a crossroads in their relationship and realize they have to team up to grab the gold and make history.

And that's pretty much all you need to know about the story going in. The rest of the movie is just an all out excuse for Ferrell's style of Talladega Nights style comedy. It plays out like most of all these sports cliché comedies, and you don't really need anything more than that. What you want out of these comedies is big laughs, funny characters, and absurd, "What the …" moments, and Blades of Glory delivers on all.

Ferrell's Michaels is classic Will Ferrell buffoonery as he stumbles his way sloppily through this movie. His comedy is sharp and after a couple of these kinds of movies, he's an old pro and knows how to work the laughter out of any scene. What Ferrell always brings to these depressing characters is heart, and once again he makes the Michaels character disgusting and at the same time likable and always redeemable. We root for Michaels because we know he can do it, and we're just waiting for him to realize it.

Heder keeps improving. Like I said in my Benchwarmers review last year, Heder just needs more movies to finally shake the Napoleon Dynamite-ness to his acting. Sadly, it's not this film, but he's getting better. This is probably the furthest he's been from said indie character, and I feel he may be coming into his own soon.

Either that, or we'll just have to accept that this is who this guy is and we either like him or not. As Jimmy MacElroy, Heder brings a vulnerability and naiveté to the former Tiger Beat cover boy, and we like him, too. He also creates a great innocent and proper foil to Ferrell's dirty and crude characterizations.

The play between these two really work, and we can believe they really hate each other. At the same time, when they have to team up, it's easily believed that, yes, they can be partners and who knows, maybe even friends. It's because of both Heder and Ferrell's commitment to these characters that you even feel it's possible.

A very strong ensemble rounds out the rest of the cast. Craig T. Nelson, television's Coach, plays… you guessed it, The Coach. SNL's Amy Poehler and real life hubby Will Arnett (Arrested Development's Gob) play the villains as fierce brother/sister skating competitors, the Van Waldenbergs. And in what could be a Maxim cover in the making, The Office's Pam Beasley, Jenna Fischer, plays the good Van Waldenberg sister, Katie. In a scene with Michaels, she sheds her good girl image and looks unbelievably hot as she wears sexy lingerie. James Gunn, you lucky bastard…

Poehler and Arnett are really good as the Van Waldenbergs, but unfortunately their characters are somewhat underdeveloped. More time is spent developing the rivalry between MacElroy and Michaels, so when they finally introduce the antagonists, it's somewhat anti-climatic. Fischer plays the romantic lead to Heder and like Will Ferrell and his love interest in Talladega, their relationship is developed rather quickly and therefore carries less weight in the overall value of the movie. Fischer is good in this movie, but is merely playing a slightly different version of the quiet and mousy Pam. All the actors do what they can here, and it's more a problem of script than the acting itself.

What you can definitely count on in this movie is big laughs. Blades of Glory doesn't take itself seriously and it likes to have fun. The absurdity of two grown men wearing tight costumes and figure skating with each other in obviously suggestive ways of course brings the hugest guffaws, and why wouldn't it? This movie is all about finding the funny wherever it can, and then amping it up to the highest level.

For a good time at the movies, Blades of Glory captures the Gold.


Lon Lopez

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