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BLADES OF GLORY

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, William Fichtner, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson
Directors: Will Speck, Josh Gordon
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Dreamworks
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: August 28, 2007

“Hope you brought your silver polish, MacElroy, ‘cause that was GOLD.”

“THAT was disgusting.”

“THAT, young man, is how babies are made.”

“Get out of my face!”

“I’LL GET INSIDE YOUR FACE!”

Film ***1/2

It seems that Will Ferrell is the go-to-funnyman for screwball sports comedies. He had a major hit with last year’s NASCAR send-up, Talladega Nights, and his upcoming movie, Semi-Pro, will take aim at basketball. In between those releases we have Blades of Glory, which is set against the cutthroat, or cut-ICE world of pro figure skating.

The result is one of Ferrell’s funniest films to date. In the laughs department, it easily surpasses Talladega Nights, which had its moments but sort of sagged here and there. Blades of Glory has at least one big laugh in just about every scene. And like Ferrell’s crowning laugh achievement, Anchorman, the movie is endlessly quotable, like every great comedy should be.

Ferrell is in go-for-broke comedy mode as Chazz Michael Michaels, a self-proclaimed bad boy figure skater/sex addict. His rival is Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), the new golden boy of skating. In the movie’s opening, the two face off at a 2002 Olympic competition, and an embarrassing incident between the two results in the stripping of both their medals as well as a ban from men’s single competitive figure skating for life.

Three and a half years later, the two have hit rock bottom. Chazz has fallen into an alcoholic stupor while employed as a forest character in a children’s show on ice. Jimmy, meanwhile, can only seem to get work at a shoe store.

But a loophole in their skating requirement is about to bring these two together. They were both banned from singles competition, but they can still compete as a pairs team. A formerly disgraced skating coach (Craig T. Nelson) puts it upon himself to make Chazz and Jimmy the ultimate skating pair to ever grace the ice, with a routine known as “Fire and Ice”.

The idea of a male pair skating team doesn’t fit every fan’s taste. It even manages to get under the skin of their main competition, the brother and sister team of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, played by real life husband and wife Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. They coerce their sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) to spy on them in order to learn how they execute their routine.

So the plot of Blades of Glory might not be the most original one, but when a movie has got you laughing this hard, does that really matter? Will Ferrell is so hilarious in that for all the insanely funny one-liners he delivers, he himself never cracks a grin. Anyone who isn’t aware that they’re THAT funny makes them all the more hilarious.

And there’s some dynamic supporting work in the film too. Jon Heder, even though he seems to be playing another variation on his Napoleon Dynamite persona, scores some laughs by nearly embarrassing himself on screen. Then you have Will Arnett (a favorite of mine) and Amy Poehler as the ultra creepy brother and sister skating team whose routines would have you thinking these two were anything but brother and sister, if you know what I mean. Those scenes have to be seen to be believed.

Thus far, 2007 has been a terrific year for comedies. We’ve had such fantastic laughfests as Hot Rod, Superbad, The Ex and Knocked Up, and Blades of Glory belongs on that list as well. It won’t win any awards, but it will have you howling with pure laughter and as a result you probably won’t be able to look at another figure skating event the same way again.

Video ****

Dreamworks serves up one terrific looking anamorphic presentation with this release. The picture is pristine and super clear from start to finish. The presentation of colors are also quite outstanding. No image flaws detected at any point.

Audio ***1/2

There’s quite a lot of action going on, sound-wise, in this comedy, and the 5.1 mix makes terrific use of it. Dialogue delivery is quite tremendous in delivery, and there’s hardly a moment without energetic music or physical comedy for the audio to work with properly. The skating sequences are the standout, where music and crowd noise get astonishing treatment.

Features ****

Dreamworks has delivered one mega-loaded disc. Though there isn’t a commentary track to be found, what is on the disc more than makes up for that. Included are multiple featurettes including "Return to Glory: The Making of 'Blades'", "Celebrities on Thin Ice", "Cooler Than Ice: The Super-Sexy Costumes of Skating", "Arnett & Poehler: A Family Affair", "20 Questions with Scott Hamilton" and "Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan". Also featured are Deleted Scenes, Alternate Takes, a Gag Reel, a music video for the song “Blades of Glory” by Bo Bice, a Moviefone Unscripted segment with Will Ferrell, Jon Heder and Will Arnett, MTV Interstitials, Photo Galleries and Bonus Previews.

Summary:

Blades of Glory is another hilarious entry in Will Ferrell’s ever-escalating comedy resume. The sport of figure skating gets taken down big time, with huge and frequent laughs as a result. Don’t miss if you want to laugh yourself silly, as this is one of the year’s best comedies.

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