Monday, April 02, 2007

Blades of Glory review

Blades of Glory stars John Heder and Will Ferrell as skaters who, due to zany circumstances beyond their control*, are forced to skate together as the sport’s first male-male pair. The comic premise here, as if it needs explaining, is that figure skating, at least in pairs’ form, is all about sex. And no, it’s not implicitly sexual, but you’ll see when you watch this that the nature of the sport is that it just does not work when you stick two definitively heterosexual men** into it. The results will make you cringe. But is it funny? Well, sort of. Another lesson the film reminded me of was that Will Ferrell, hilarious as he is, doesn’t make a good movie by himself. You need to add in the right complements: perferrably a screenwriter like Adam McKay and costars with improvisational ability like John C. Riley, David Koechner, Steve Carrell, and Vince Vaughn. When this happens, the actors get into a zone where jokes bounce off one another in a way that can’t miss and they yield comic classics*** “Old School”, “Talladega Nights”, and “Anchorman.”

This film has its moments but it never really gets into that zone. It has its quotable lines and flashes of brilliance that will make for a good trailer. The film features great performances by some great comic actors who with any luck will be able to use this as a springboard to bigger and better roles. These are Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler and Will Arnett (formerly of Arrested Development) as a rival pair, as well as The Office’s Jenna Fischer as their goody-two-shoes sister.

But still, the film never creates that atmosphere where you’re laughing so hard you can’t focus on anything else. It doesn’t have enough momentum to carry over from scene to scene. It might be because after Dodgeball and Talladega Nights, sports parodies are no longer a novelty. It might be because Ferrell might just be overusing the same macho comic persona a little too much. It might also be John Heder. I’m not sure whether I want him to succeed at something other than Napoleon Dynamite so that people can once and for all move past Napoleon Dynamite (which I thought was decent but nowhere near as deserving of all the praise it received), or if I just want people to just skip the middle step and forget Napoleon Dynamite AND John Heder, period. The point is that if you subscribe to my theory that Napoleon Dynamite was a complete fluke of film popularity as it relates to film quality, than Heder has a lot to prove in your eyes if he wants to share the screen with Ferrell. Whether he delivers is arguable. He does have some range and proves he can be people other than Napoleon Dynamite, but I don’t think he meets the bar set by Will Ferrell’s costars, at least in this particular movie.

*Well, the circumstances aren't REALLY that much beyond their control. It's kind of a weak plot contrivance
**They're both definitively heterosexual in different ways. Ferrell's character is very macho while Heder's character is more of a romantic
***At least in my opinion

1 comment:

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