Thursday, April 05, 2007

Blades of Glory

"I just wanna cut off your skin and wear it to my birthday"

Will Ferrell
Jon Heder
Will Arnett
Amy Poehler

Written by:
Jeff & Craig Scott

Directed by:
Josh Gordon
Will Speck

My rating: 5/5

Silly, silly, silly – but possibly genius! Somewhere in between the unashamed ridiculousness of Anchorman, and the Hollywood heroics of Dodgeball lies Will Ferrell’s latest brilliant comedy. After the disappointing Kicking and Screaming and Talladega Nights, Ferrell has returned to the genre of sports comedy, clearly determined to master it. This latest effort absolutely succeeds. It is full of jokes, full of heart and full of fun.

The story follows two rival figure skaters, the uptight, perfectionist Jimmy McElroy (Heder) and the drug-fuelled sex addict Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell). Both are banned from professional skating after a very unsportsmanlike fight on the podium. After a descent into the unglamorous world of gritty reality, the rivals find a loophole through which they may compete again in professional skating, but only if they agree to be partners. They must put aside their differences and learn to work together towards the championships in Montreal.

The performances in this film are superb, with Jon Heder showing he was not a one trick pony with Napoleon Dynamite. Playing a completely different character, he pulls off Jimmy McElroy with enormous charisma and perfect comic timing. The pairing of he and Ferrell works perfectly and their vicious banter never feels flat. Honourable mention must go to Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, real-life husband and wife who play the villainous brother-sister team of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg. The hilarious duo play perfect foils to Michaels and McElroy’s fiery partnership.

The screenplay for this film features some of the cleverest dialogue I’ve seen onscreen in ages and luckily the cast more than does it justice. It never over-relies on jokes to keep the audience interested, but the simplicity of the plot leaves plenty of room for comic antics. The story moves along swiftly, never drags, and keeps the audience rooting for our heroes as the film reaches its typical “sports movie” high-octane climax.

The film does nothing new with the genre and never necessarily breaks from the formula (except for the highly un-masculine choice of sport). However, all of the skating sequences are brilliantly choreographed and convincingly carried out. The seamless construction of these sequences help to maintain the excitement necessary to keep the audience involved in the plot.

Overall, the hilarious dialogue, the fantastic comic talent and the genius use of costuming make this film a must for anyone with a tolerance for Will Ferrell’s particular brand of comedy. By the time you leave the cinema the happy ending, the kicking soundtrack and the edge-of-your-seat climactic skating sequence will most certainly have you feeling satisfied and perhaps even euphoric. Highly recommended.

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