Steve Butabi. Ron Burgundy. Ricky Bobby. Will Ferrell knows exactly how to play an idiot with an overblown ego. That's why he keeps doing it over and over again. The titles of his films may change: A Night at the Roxbury, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory ... but he's the same guy in all of them. So when you meet Ferrell's latest incarnation, Chazz Michael Michaels, "an ice-devouring sex tornado," don't be surprised if you recognize him straightaway.
Blades of Glory won't be nominated for any Oscars this year. Nor, when his career is finished, will it be listed among Will Ferrell's finest starring roles. But if you like Ferrell, or you enjoy the exploits of his costar Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), then it's a safe bet you're going to enjoy this one.
Aging sex symbol Michaels and now-grown child phenom Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) are bitter rivals in the competitive world of ice skating. Sharing a gold medal in the men's division at an affair resembling the Olympic Games annoys both skaters, so they brawl on the podium and accidentally light the event mascot on fire (a rather heinous scene). As punishment, Michaels and MacElroy are both banned from the ice for life. Or are they? Three years later, a MacElroy fan/stalker points out a loophole in the rules and the bickering duo reunite for a doubles competition as the first ever male-male pair to make such an attempt. Cue the ridiculousness.
Though the comedic moments in Blades could probably be replaced by scenes from any of Ferrell's other films, most of them still manage to be funny. The supporting cast is a very talented bunch, including real-life husband and wife Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live) and Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as a brother-sister duo; Craig T. Nelson (Coach) as, um, the coach; Nick Swardson (Grandma's Boy) as a skating-obsessed fan and Jenna Fischer (The Office) as MacElroy's love interest. Unfortunately, their lines here are less than memorable, leaving most of the gems to be delivered by Ferrell and Heder. There are a handful of bits in the film that ought to make most people laugh out loud, even if they've already seen those snippets in the previews. The moments are cheap, but they're there. Also, expect a hearty share of celebrity cameos, a typical feat for both Ferrell films and modern sports parodies.
I'd never heard of the director or writing team associated with Blades, so it's hard to guess how much influence they had on the outcome of the picture, but one thing is for certain: Oscar-nominated costume design vet Julie Weiss (The Ring, American Beauty) must have had a heyday creating outfits for skinny Heder and pudgy Ferrell to wear while floating around the ice. If for no other reason, the movie is worth the rental fee just to see the pair parade around in skin-tight, sequined bodysuits.
Blades of Glory is nothing new for Ferrell, but it definitely puts a new spin on the world of figure skating. I'd call it a decent choice for an otherwise boring weekend when you're in need of some easy laughs.