Movie Reviews – Blades of Glory

Katherine DeVries

Blades of Glory begins by introducing two stereotypically extroverted and self-absorbed male figure skaters-Chaz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder)-whose long-standing rivalry finally culminates in a violent grapple in front of millions of comically loyal fans at the world figure skating championships. After the two skaters are banned from the sport, they both engage in hilariously degrading attempts at “real-world” jobs until they are finally able to set aside their differences and compete together in the only division they are allowed: pairs skating.

The film is intermittently complicated by the protagonists’ somewhat touching childhood stories (which I found to be a little forced and randomly interjected), a mutual side rivalry, Chaz’s vulgar personality flaw and Jimmy’s somewhat pathetic love relationship. The majority of the movie attempts to tell the story of two enemies overcoming their differences and beating the odds, in order to prove the strength of their skating skills as well as the friendship that ultimately develops.

The movie certainly has an all-star cast. Apart from Ferrell and Heder, the list of actors includes comedians such as Amy Poehler, Will Arnett and Nick Swardson. All have starred separately in extremely successful comedic hits. However, the comic styles of all of these actors appeared so contradictory when brought together, that the characters in Blades of Glory just didn’t mesh. Heder’s innate Napoleon-esque awkwardness was incompatible with Ferrell’s blatantly exaggerated extroversion. Amy Poehler barely interacted with any of the other characters and presented an SNL-reminiscent personality that came off as too one dimensional for the big screen. Jenna Fischer, an Office favorite, presented a disappointingly bland character that experienced a much anticipated, yet ultimately unsatisfying epiphany.

In terms of the movie’s visuals, much of the actual skating was very obviously computer generated. While this could have added to the satiric nature of the movie, most of the scenes were not extreme enough to come off as comically ridiculous, and yet they were too contrived to be realistic. Also, while the choreography was funny at first, there are only so many times an audience can laugh at displays of two male figure skaters contorting themselves into uncomfortable positions, such as crotch lifts and close-contact on-ice waltzing.

The costumes, however, are probably one of this movie’s strong points. The outfits in the opening scene succeed in introducing the incredibly stereotypical personalities of the main characters and effectively set the tone for the rest of the movie. The continual reappearance of Jimmy’s original outfit (peacock glove and all) on his terrifyingly pathetic stalker took advantage of appearances to enhance the intentionally stereotypical qualities of both the skaters and their fans.

Overall, while there are a few incredibly quotable lines, as well as some hilarious skating sequences, Blades of Glory is not extreme or unique enough to merit the praise similar movies (such as Zoolander or Dodgeball) have received. If viewers are looking for a well written, over the top, sidesplitting comedy, they should stick to the classics.