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  Blades of Glory Thin Ice
Year: 2007
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Stars: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, William Fichtner, Craig T. Nelson, Romany Malco, Nick Swardon, Scott Hamilton, Andy Richter, Greg Lindsay, Rob Corddry, Nick Jameson, Tom Virtue, William Daniels, Luke Wilson
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: There is no love lost between these two figure skating champions, Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy McElroy (Jon Heder), even though as Americans you might have expected each of them to be pleased with the other's success. Chazz is the bad boy of the sport, a notorious party animal and self-confessed sex addict, but the public love him for all his flaws whereas Jimmy is has a reputation of being pure and virtuous, an all round good guy and natural talent since he was picked out of an orphanage as a child. So how shocking it is that when they share gold at the sport's most prestigious event, they should end up fighting on the podium...

Part of Will Ferrell's run of sporting comedies in an apparent mission to take in every less respected one and mine them for humorous purpose with this effort which should have had alarm bells ringing when one noticed the dreadful pun in its title. But unlike many of his other films, in which he heavily relied on an improvisational style to garner those laughs to not always successful results, the target here was just daft enough to justify the spoofing and the homosexual flavour to the view of the men in the sport, whether percieved or actual, provided the material that if not utterly hilarious, did prompt a few well-earned chuckles.

It was not only the unselfconscious gay gags that supplied the titters as the overall tone was that of the familiar big budget Hollywood comedy of the early twenty-first century, and that was one of consistent, straightfaced absurdity. The fact that ice skating of this sort shared a similar image did not mean that the sport was being soundly criticised, as there was actually a genuine affection to the parody, and besides, there were a host of its stars who appeared onscreen to offer their blessing to what could have been far more scathing. If figure skating has never quite recovered in the public image from the Tonya Harding sabotage scandal, then that scandal is reflected here as well, and not simply because Nancy Kerrigan, her victim, shows up.

So there are a couple of Harding-alike characters who act as our villains, taking winning far too seriously and going all out to bring down Chazz and Jimmy. But why bother when they are doing their level best to destroy each other's careers anyway? Here's the film's high concept: once they have both been disqualified from competition for life for their skirmish, they end up in dead end jobs, though still ice skating connected, and Coach (Craig T. Nelson), a coach, realises they could revolutionise their careers by teaming up. They're not allowed to perform individually, so why not enter as a double? There's no rule against that, and that is why brother and sister bad guys Stranz (Will Arnett) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler) hatch their plan.

The siblings have a sister, Katie (Jenna Fischer), who is their self-described slave, wrestling with the guilt that she caused her parents' death in a car crash, which she didn't, but that's not what her brother and sister tell her. Jimmy is headed for a romance with Katie, but the path of true love does not run smooth, especially with a sex addict about, and supplies a few bumps in the plot as it goes about its entirely predictable business. Luckily, what everyone here latches onto is that the plot is not as important as the jokes, and if each one does not hit the mark it means to, the overall silly and goodnatured tone does go quite some way to making up for that. From the dances Chazz and Jimmy carry out, with much emphasis on unlikely homoeroticism for cheerful comic purposes matched with some butch, guy's guy rendering, to the goofy manner in which the problems are worked out, this was no masterpiece but it was diverting. Music by Theodore Shapiro.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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