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Will Ferrell and Jon Heder team up for a long overdue parody on the world of male figure skating. This judge's score: 6.0.
Ice Castles II:
Blades of Glory
3-30-07 "Knight Thoughts" web exclusive
By Richard Knight, Jr.
Genre parody comedies have been Will Ferrell’s chief bread and butter (Anchorman is my personal favorite) and when he’s tried to
stretch his well known Everyman Buffoon screen persona a bit (as in last fall's Stranger Than Fiction) he has not fared as well with
audiences. Have no fear then about Blades of Glory. Ferrell’s new movie (in which he co-stars with Jon Heder) spoofs the world
of figure skating, a subject so ripe for parody it’s amazing that neither Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughan, or Jim
Carrey didn’t grab it earlier. Carrying the tag line “kick some ice,” the movie is a laugh riot from beginning to end. In a nice
surprise, given its subject matter, it didn’t offend your friendly yet prickly gay film critic by resorting to the expected “dude don’t
touch me you fag” homophobia of other straight male comedies (dare I mention once again the nauseating offender supreme,
Without a Paddle?).
The movie, whose template borrows heavily from the template of another skating movie, The Cutting Edge and the opening sections
of The Parent Trap, focuses on the rivalry of two competing skaters. Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is the effete sophisticate who wears
the peacock costumes and skates to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Boccelli’s cloying “Time to Say Goodbye.” Sporting Dorothy
Hamill's famous bob (which is cannily referred to as “The Jimmy Curl”), sweet Jimmy is the adopted son of the fur coat wearing
mega billionaire Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner). “Dad” is as tough as the mean lady coach played by Jennifer Warren that told
blind Lexi in Ice Castles to stop sniveling or she’d dump her ass. Ferrell play’s Jimmy’s hard rockin’, bad boy, sex addicted rival,
Chazz Michael Michaels who skates to rock music, visibly turns on the lady spectators and is referred to as “sex on ice.”
After tying for a Gold Medal and getting into a spectacular fist fight on the awards podium, the two are stripped of their medals and
banned from competition. But three years later Hector, a crazed, male fan of Jimmy’s who’s obviously gay (played by the very funny
Nick Swardson who appeared memorably as another gay character, Terry the hustler in Reno 911: Miami) points out a loophole in the
rulebook that brings together, improbably, Jimmy and Chazz as the world’s first male figure skating pair.
The two are trained in secret by their grizzled old coach (Craig T. Nelson) and slowly, and hilariously, these two learn to become
partners (but not before, naturally, a scene in which Chazz shows off his “skater’s body” to Jimmy). Trying to thwart them at every
turn are their competitors, a creepy/funny brother-sister duo (played in true, comical Batman Arch Criminal style by real life husband
and wife Amy Poehler and Will Arnett). They are aided by their guilt-ridden sister (Jenna Fischer) who has developed a crush on
A touch of homophobia has come the first time the coach instructs the duo to waltz together on the ice and they tentatively clasp
hands but it’s just a look. By the time we finally see Jimmy and Chazz performing their first routine, a qualifying final for the
Olympics, the pair has lost any semblance of fear apparently at being tagged as gay. They gleefully perform a routine that
incorporates an arsenal of suggestive positions that will be extremely familiar to gay audiences. The routine is a spectacular success
(it’s also the film’s high point) and any hint of homophobia is erased in their ensuing triumph while the movie moves into the typical
last act (but still funny) roadblocks before the final victory by our dynamic duo can be achieved.
The first time script by Chicago natives (and brothers) Jeff and Craig Cox (the movie was also directed by first timers Josh Gordon
and Will Speck) keeps the smart laughs coming (the skating routines and costumes of both Jimmy and Chazz and their competitors
are standouts) and the gross out, dumb dumb stuff to a minimum. They tailored the characters to the strengths of their two stars
and both Ferrell and Heder (who registers much better here than in the dreary School for Scoundrels) revel in the guaranteed laughs.
Cameos by renowned figure skaters (like Nancy Kerrigan) add spark (though it would have been terrific to see Kerrigan’s white trash
rival Tanya Harding somewhere in the background clutching a tire rod). The writers also missed an opportunity to show Chazz and
Jimmy influencing other male skaters (gay and straight) to pair up, once and for all melting the homophobia such a pairing
suggests. But the filmmakers do add a throwaway moment near the end of the film that will give the homophobes something to
contemplate. Having finally won the girl of his dreams, Jimmy gives her a big, sloppy kiss. “You’ve been practicing!” She says in
surprise. “Yeah,” Jimmy shyly replies, “Chazz taught me some stuff…”
Sex on ice, indeed!