Blades of Glory
Farrell is as Ferrell Does

There are times when a writer/director needs to trust the basic story, and let it tell itself. Particularly with comedies, either the story is strong enough to hold the audience, or it’s not—and if it’s not, then maybe one should reconsider—or rewrite.

Blades of Glory is a prime example of a good story not being trusted to deliver. An egotistical pretty-boy and an equally egotistical stud-on-skates get into a brawl over a gold medal and are subsequently banned from the competitive skating for life. After an enterprising coach finds a loophole that allows them to skate as a pair, the training begins—first in reconciling their personality conflicts, then their opposing styles, and finally their plain-and-simple self-centeredness.

Farrell as Chazz in Blades of GloryAll in all, the premise really is amusing. Any time you have two people who loathe each other forced to work out their differences via rigorous physical training, the stage is set for humor. John Heder shines as the pathetic naïf who can’t believe he’s lost his chance at a gold medal. Will Ferrell brings plenty of rude and crude life to Chazz Michael Michaels, the over-tattooed, overweight, oversexed, over-the-top skating champ whose lust for gold is almost as strong as his lust for all things lusty. Again, the basic premise is certainly funny, and the film gives us plenty of very effective physical humor throughout. It’s those pesky don’t-trust-the-material-quite-enough-to-deliver additions that, for me, dragged the movie down.

Now, I must reveal two things: first, despite the raunchiness, crass humor, sexploitation, and general crudeness, I laughed out loud a couple of times. Not that I’m proud of that, but I did find a few things funny, particularly the wacky physical humor so easily found when ice skates are involved. Second, though I was frequently offended by the blatant, intentionally offensive sexual humor, the audience I was with seemed to really enjoy it. I just don’t find the word “boner” to be a worthy punchline, especially the second or third time around; but the audience at the promotional screening apparently found the humor not only palatable but entertaining and enjoyable.

The other great disappointment was that so many professional figure skaters were featured in cameos—as themselves. The idea that these upstanding, respectable, and respected people would look at this script and voluntarily sign on to the project floored me. This is far from a cute little comedy about two people working out their differences; the only reason I can possibly imagine for their endorsement of the movie is that either the pay was phenomenal, or there is a warped humor throughout the professional skating profession that we have not been privy to—until now. I’m really not sure which it is.

In any event, I don’t think I was the target audience on this one, but those who have enjoyed the humor Will Ferrell is famous for may find themselves rolling in the aisles. Those who, like me, met Will Ferrell in Elf and found him delightful may be sorely disappointed by the celebrated filth in this movie.

At any rate, this is far from a family-friendly film. There were several ‘tween boys at the screening, and I wished I could cover their eyes and ears just to prevent the irreverent sexualizations from penetrating their absorbent minds. From what I’ve heard, this is Will Ferrell in his original form—like it or not. For my part, I think the movie would have been just as funny—even funnier—if they had trusted the material and let the humor come naturally, rather than throw in constant vulgarity.

But then, I’m not a director…

Blades of Glory is rated PG-13 “for crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references.” It’s moments such as these when one wonders exactly what the difference is between some R films and these hard-PG-13 ones.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jenn attended a promotional screening of Blades of Glory.