The Frat Pack Tribute Site Logo


Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: Blades of Glory

Review

Review by Kevin Crossman

Blades of Glory mines similar comedic territory as past Frat Pack offerings, and should be seen as a sort of mashup of Zoolander and Dodgeball, two previous classics from Blades producer Ben Stiller. And while it’s not the most original concept and certainly has some flaws, the movie is also the most consistently funny movie since Wedding Crashers. Funnier than The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Borat, and Clerks II and far funnier than Will Ferrell’s last sports-comedy Talladega Nights.

While Will Ferrell is top-billed as macho, sex-obsessed skating champion Chazz Michael Michaels, the true lead role here is the character of Jimmy MacElroy, played by Jon Heder. Adopted by a megalomaniac played by William Fichtner, MacElroy’s character knows about skating but is lacking street smarts. The two skaters are introduced during a series of montages reminiscent of a similar vignette in Zoolander. And, like Zoolander, this material is incredibly funny.

The two rivals tie for the gold medal at the “Wintersport Games” and end up fighting on the podium, resulting in a lifetime ban. Fast-forwarding three and half years, we see how far the two have fallen; Jimmy works at a skate shop and Chazz is a drunk dancer at an Ice Capades style show run with an iron hand by Bryce (Rob Corddry). Jimmy’s obsessed fan/stalker (Nick Swardson) informs him of a loophole that he was only banned from the men’s division and Jimmy soon sets off to find a female replacement in time to sign up for Nationals. It just so happens that Jimmy runs into his old coach (Craig T. Nelson) and his old rival Chazz. Quicker than you can say plot contrivance, the two rivals have become the first men’s pairs team.

Of course, it takes a while for the two rivals to warm to each other. And brother-sister pairs champions Stranz and Fairchild (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) will do anything it takes to win, including employing their sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) to spy on the men’s pair. Coach brings a strong hand to help Michaels and MacElroy work together, as does choreographer Jesse (Romany Malco). There’s a particularly funny scene involving a hair brush that shows us this is a different kind of sport than NASCAR. The second act culminates in a hilarious “Fire and Ice” routine that wins the pair a spot in the Wintersport Games in Montreal.

Reaching Montreal, Coach wants the pair to learn a dangerous new move called the Iron Lotus. The back story on this move includes a clip that had me in tears. Katie and Jimmy start to have feelings for each other, so Chazz gives his newfound pal some pointers. But before long, Stranz and Fairchild foil the romance and the male bonding as well, leading to the separation of the men’s pair the night before the big Wintersport finals. There’s some great work by Arnett and Poehler during this section of the movie as they both attempt to prevent Michaels and MacElroy from participating in the competition. A chase scene with Arnett and Ferrell includes some great physical humor and nice gags as well.

Along the way, Chazz attends a sex addiction meeting and we are introduced, in true Frat Pack cameo fashion, to the voice of the counselor… who turns out to be Luke Wilson. Wilson isn’t given much to work with but the audience seemed to appreciate the stunt casting, as did we. Andy Richter also cameos as Mountie at the conclusion of the film. Real life skaters Sasha Cohen and Nancy Kerrigan have nice moments and real-life sportscasters Jim Lampley and Scott Hamilton are the funniest announcing team since Dodgeball’s Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks.

Heder is an acquired taste and some will be turned off by his performance in the film. And, surely, standing next to Will Ferrell is no easy task. But he does bring the required physicality to the role and a certain petite sense that makes him far more believable as a skater than Ferrell does. He wears the wig very well and his chemistry with Fischer is also quite good.

Frat Pack purists will debate whether this Chazz will be as memorable as the last Chazz Ferrell played in Wedding Crashers, but all I can say is that I laughed from beginning to end. From the pop culture references, to the obviously improvised lines, to the requisite scantily-clad “skater’s body” Will Ferrell knocks another one out of the park.

The film is shot well with only a few unbelievable special effects shots. Theodore Shapiro’s score is appropriately uplifting when it needs to be, and there’s a nice mix of popular rock and pop songs as well. As with Dodgeball, Producer Ben Stiller gives a chance to first time directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck; theirs is not a perfect job but the film certainly has the requisite shine appropriate for a skating movie. Julie Weiss must also be lauded for incredibly outrageous costume design.

The movie has all the hallmarks of the best Frat Pack films. The comedy farce is well acted and includes the right amount of pop culture references, parody, and slapstick. The theme of male-bonding is represented well and there’s enough edgy material to elevate this film beyond family-friendly fare such as Ferrell’s Kicking & Screaming. Frat Pack fans should give this film high marks on both technical and artistic merit.

Blades of Glory delivers the goods.

*****

Order the DVD

Blades of Glory

Official Website and Synopsis

www.bladesofglorymovie.com

MySpace/bladesofglory (also: Chazz Michael Michaels, Jimmy MacElroy)

When rival figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) go ballistic in an embarrassing, no-holds-barred fight at the World Championships, they are stripped of their gold medals and banned from the sport for life. Now, three-and-a-half years on, they’ve found a loophole that will allow them to compete: if they can put aside their differences, they can skate together – in pairs’ figure skating. Their competition comes from hypercompetitive brother-sister team Stranz and Fairchild (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). While Stranz and Fairchild's younger sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) falls for Jimmy, Chazz has a sex addiction problem and seeks counseling from a sex therapist (Luke Wilson).

Trailers

Articles

Bo Bice "Blades of Glory" Music Video

Photo Gallery