If you like Will Ferrell movies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights, then you are chomping at the bit to get out to see Blades of Glory. And it does not disappoint. Alongside the traditional sight gags always offered by Will Ferrell and his team of writers they have also mastered the craft of bringing us ridiculous characters filled with “unearned confidence” as Will Ferrell explained it to Terry Gross. His character, Chazz Michael Michaels, is the bad boy of figure skating.
Even funnier than the simple idea of making a bad boy of figure skating (or approaching the world of figure skating at all) is the idea of putting Will Ferrell in a Spandex suit. His out-of-shape physique is one that he perpetually uses to make the audience laugh, so when Chazz, who claims to be a sex addict, is so proud of his body and thinks of himself as sex incarnate, you know you are in for another Ferrell laugh riot.
When the film opens, Chazz and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) are the top male figure skaters in the world, but their rivalry finally comes to blows when they have to share a gold medal in front of the global figure skating audience. Chazz escaped a life of crime by delving into the sordid world of Detroit’s underground sewer skating community, where he learned the chops he needed to make his own way to the top without the help of a coach or even a father.
Jimmy MacElroy, on the other hand, was an orphan with exceptional skill in skating. He was discovered by billionaire Darren MacElroy, who goes around the world adopting orphans of exceptional sporting abilities, and training them to be prodigies. He does not do this out the kindness of his heart, he simply wants gold medals. So when Chazz and Jimmy break into a fist fight during the medal ceremonies and they are both consequently banned from figure skating, Jimmy’s father disowns him as quickly as he “purchased” him.
Chazz and Jimmy find themselves working the only jobs they can get as banned figure skaters. Chazz works at “Drumlins on Ice” a kids show presented on a skating rink, where he plays the evil wizard, usually drunk. Jimmy works at a skate shop fitting children for ice skates, but his perfectionism and ego inhibit his ability to be a successful customer service representative.
This leads the two of them to come to a truce, learn to be friends, and be the first male figure skaters to enter the competition as a couple, pitting them against America’s Stranz and Fairchild Von Waldenberg, the reigning champions of couple figure skating. Played by real life husband and wife Amy Poehler (from Saturday Night Live) and Will Arnett (Arrested Development) this brother-sister skating team of Von Waldenbergs will not relinquish their title easily to the media favorites of Chazz and Jimmy.
Jon Heder, as Jimmy MacElroy, has finally escaped the Napoleon Dynamite character with this role, where he is a pampered pretty-boy, uncertain of himself and learning about love from Chazz Michael Michaels, possibly the worst possible person to learn anything from. Heder does a great job of playing up this characters distinctive qualities, although there is no way for a viewer to escape comparing any character Heder plays to Dynamite, he does a better job distinguishing Jimmy from Dynamite than he did his characters in his last three films.
This sets the stage for some of the funniest moments in filmed comedy. Like a buddy film gone wrong, this movie exaggerates every genre it can from this vantage point. From a thrilling chase scene on ice skates to the ridiculous ending that reminds the viewer thoroughly that this is nothing more than an absurdist comedy, Blades of Glory delivers laughs without any political or social commentary. Whether you are looking for smart comedy or mindless laughs, this film has it all in there.