EVER SINCE he
portrayed a heartbreakingly earnest cheerleader on Saturday Night Live, Will
Ferrell has shown that he gets the comic possibilities of modern sports.
Stereotypes remained his specialty as he moved on to movies such as Old School,
Kicking and Screaming and Talladega Nights and gave us, respectively, the
rhythmic gymnast, soccer dad and stock car driver from hell. In his latest film
Ferrell is as ungainly and un-self-aware as ever, but as a figure skater in
Blades of Glory he turns that sport's biggest stereotype on its head.
striving for flamboyance, Ferrell plays his Chazz Michael Michaels as a
hyperhetero badass who loves the bottle, his "bod" and, especially, the
ladies. (He has a tattoo for every female skater he's bedded. Michelle Kwan,
how could you?) When Chazz nails a triple Axel while skating to Billy Squier's
The Stroke, announcer Jim Lampley marvels that Chazz is "an ice devouring
sex machine," which almost certainly has never been said about Johnny
boorishness is a problem for his prim and proper archrival, Jimmy MacElroy (Jon
Heder). The two butt heads—literally, during a brawl as they jostle for
position on the podium—and are both banned for life from singles competition.
Soon after they decide to exploit a rule-book loophole by competing as
male-male doubles partners at the World Wintersport Games. It's at that point
that the movie falls apart. Teamwork, it turns out, isn't always a good
is far more entertaining on his own, when he's acting the role of God's gift to
figure skating (and women). When he teams up with MacElroy, he spends too much
time imploring his strait-laced (and blandly unfunny) partner to "Loosen
up, baby!" Meanwhile, Ferrell's macho streak is virtually the only
unpredictable element in Blades, which eventually takes swipes at all the
obvious skating targets. The hilarious Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are largely
wasted as the guys' main rivals; they're given little to work with except
predictable Tonya Harding--esque gags.
As in all Ferrell
movies, though, the easy jokes sometimes work, and that's almost always to the
star's credit. It's hard not to laugh when Ferrell stuffs his gut into a
spandex robot costume and prances around the ice to Queen's Flash Gordon theme.
Because of the dull Heder, though, he's often left looking like a Torvill in
dire need of a Dean.