Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory.
As a Will Ferrell fan, there was no way I was going to miss Blades of Glory. I suspected before going that it would be one of his lesser movies. A feeling I based mainly on the fact that his involvement with the film was strictly as a performer, whereas his best and funniest movies usually involve him writing or producing, or in some way taking a more direct involvement in the production. According to interviews Ferrell claims to have taken the part mainly as an opportunity to work with co-star Jon Heder, but I also suspect it was as a favor to producer Ben Stiller, with whom Ferrell has worked many times in the past. What ever the reason, it turns out, that, yes, this isn't Ferrell's best or funniest movie ever, but, thanks mainly to him, it is a funny and fairly entertaining movie, if somewhat lightweight.
Heder and Ferrell star as rival figure skaters. Heder's Jimmy MacElroy, blonde and rather effeminate, is the polar opposite of Ferrell's Chazz Michael Michaels, who is the rebel of the ice-skating world. When they tie for the gold at an event near the beginning of the film, they both end up on the same podium where they end up getting into a fist fight, which results in both of them being banned from skating for life. Fortunately for them (and the plot), there is a loophole in the rulebook, which means that while they can't skate in singles competition, they can skate with a partner. When neither of them can find a female partner, they reluctantly exploit another loophole which allows them to be the first ever all-male skating duo.
Perhaps the biggest difference between this movie and Ferrell's other work is the tameness of the jokes. With its PG-13 rating, it is suitably kid friendly, with none of the raunchiness associated with the Frat Pack movies. It still has some very funny moments, but it never goes for the jugular when it comes to skewering the world of Professional Figure Skating. About as rude as it gets is when Chazz, an admitted sex addict, puts his hands on Katie's (Jenna Fischer from The Office) breasts on top of her clothes.
The best thing this movie has going for it is Ferrell. I'm sure in the pitch meeting for this movie, the idea that sold it was Will Ferrell on skates. All of the funniest scenes are his, with Heder clearly playing second fiddle. Once again, and despite all evidence to contrary, Ferrell plays a character convinced of his own sexiness, and proudly shows off his out of shape body as if it were sculpted like a Greek God.
While many of the jokes in the movie revolve around the idea of two men skating together and grabbing and holding each other in intimate ways and places, the movie is really too innocent to be considered homophobic. I suppose if you were particularly sensitive to the subject you could read homophobia into the story, but I truly don't think it was the film maker's intent and it's certainly not mean spirited.
Not on par with Ferrell's greatest work, but Blades of Glory is definitely funny enough and good enough to help tide his fans over until his next "real" movie.
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory.
Let me correct one thing for you Scott. This movie is not, "suitably kid friendly." You think the breast hand shake is suitable for children to see. How about all of the sex addict talk or lines like, "Nancy Kerrigan. You an official here? Cause you've officially given me a boner!" This movie is definitely a 13 year old and up movie.
I thought this was one of Ferrell's better films. Chazz is an out of shape middle aged, unattractive sex addict, ice skating super stud. As described by a sportscaster he is, "The only skater to win four national championships and an adult film award." The more he flaunts his ego and his supposed sex appeal, the funnier he is.
Heder does not fair as well. His very effeminate Jimmy merely reacts to Chazz. His love story side plot is the weakest moment in the film. His funniest moments come when sharing the screen with Ferrell. "This guy could not hold my jock sweat." Chazz says about Jimmy, who responds, "I could hold it all day long, try me!"
As far as the homophobia subject goes, is that not what the whole joke of this movie is? Or as an ice skater commented about Jimmy and Chazz skating together, "As if this sport wasn't gay enough already."
This scene was funny.
There are some amusing parts to this movie. I laughed at the sex addict’s meeting and when a woman tells Chazz, “You used to be a great skater, now you’re getting high with the woodland fairies.” Unfortunately more jokes miss than hit the target. I also didn’t care for either of the main characters and the plot is strictly by the numbers. I agree that Ferrell has comedic charm but this is far from his best role. As for Heder, he’s a complete cipher.
I have never found straight men laughing at gay sex to be homophobic. All men make fun of sex. I mean c’mon it’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it. The only exception is when a man is in love. That’s where the joking stops. I chuckled during their first skate together with all the sexually suggestive positions. But then they copped out and made Jimmy straight. I would have enjoyed it much more if he had been gay. The bond between the two men would have meant more. The way it is the message seems to be, ‘We can make jokes about being gay as long as the audience knows we are both really straight men’.
Photos © Copyright Paramount Pictures (2007)