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Laramie Movie Scope:
Blades of Glory

Slight, but amusing vulgar comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 1, 2007 -- “Blades of Glory” is a very slight, but mildly amusing vulgar comedy about figure skating that barely squeaks by with a passing grade. It doesn't set a record for hit-'em-in-the-crotch jokes, but certainly has its share of them. I laughed a lot when I saw this, and so did most of the audience, but it has as many groaners and misses as it does hits. Not all of its comedy is simplistic and vulgar, but most of it is. It has the expected number of gay jokes and it can't resist one brother-sister makeout scene.

The film's main characters are Chazz Michael Michaels (played by Will Farrell of “Taladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby”) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder of “The Benchwarmers”). They are the two top figure skaters in the world and they hate each other's guts. When they get into a fight on the ice after a competition, they are both thrown out of the sport for life. A loophole lets them back into competition if they compete in pairs instead of singles. In a very uncovincing scene, they are persuaded to compete as the world's first male-male pairs skating team, instead of teaming up with other partners. A coach (Craig T. Nelson of “The Skulls”), aided by a choreographer, agree to train them for the world championships.

The filmmakers have a lot of fun with elaborate funny costumes, but regular figure skating costumes are so outrageous they are hard to pardoy. One of the running jokes in the film has to do with the oily figure skating pair of Stranz Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett of “RV”) and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Amy Poehler “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny”), who are not above cheating to win, using Tonya Harding-type tactics. It is hard to parody Tonya Harding, though, because she is so far out there on the fringe. This is a continuing problem for the film. The real life world of figure skating is so strange, so filled with bizarre characters, that you can't really come up with fictional characters and situations that are quite as good. One way to deal with that is to have a lot of real figure skaters in the film, and there are some, including Sasha Cohen (in a very funny cameo), Peggy Flemming, Scott Hamilton (who plays a sports commentator), Nancy Kerrigan (the real life target of Tonya Harding's sabotage), Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill. Jim Lampley also plays a sports announcer teamed with Scott Hamilton, who has covered many figure skating competitions for television.

Most of the comedy in the film revolves around the dislike that Chazz and Jimmy have for each other. The problem with this is, this dislike really isn't convincing. Heder, who was very funny in “Napoleon Dynamite,” can't seem to hold his own with Farrell in the acting department. He comes off as weak and forgettable. Will Arnett of and Amy Poehler, on the other hand are quite good as the evil skating pair. Nelson is good as the coach, although his character's behavior is wildly inconsistent. Jenna Fischer of “Slither” is good as the pair's younger sister, Katie Van Waldenberg, another character who behaves erratically for the convenience of the plot. William Fichtner of “Crash” has a very funny bit part as fickle millionaire Darren MacElroy. Another running gag in the movie is about Chazz being a sex addict. This subplot doesn't really work, either, except for one funny scene in a parking lot after a sex addict group therapy meeting. This is a very hit-and-miss comedy, but it is funny enough to rate a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2007 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)