Blades of Glory Review

Blades of Glory is a sharp and witty movie that will leave you with an up feeling. The world of skating is its own cosmic universe with rules and regulations that many outsiders do not know.

 

Jimmy with adoptive Dad and coach waiting for scores.



The movie gives us only a glimpse into this life as it follows the story of two disgraced world champions who are forced to put their differences behind them and become as one in the first male/male pairs team' an unheard of thing in skating.

As the mother of a young competition ice skater, I can truly appreciate how much Will Ferrell (who, playing the party animal male version of Tanya Harding, Chazz Michael Michaels, seems to be one of the highest grossing sports comedians ala "Talladega Nights") and Jon Heder (Most recently known for Napoleon Dynamite, plays Jimmy MacElroy- the devoted skater) had to learn to accomplish all their skillful maneuvers on the ice.  I can tell you it takes hours and hours of practice even for the best skaters and to think that neither of them knew skating before is astonishing. 

Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) in his first gold



Their amazing routines were choreographed by Sarah Kawahara, who has done most of Scott Hamilton's glorious performances and worked for Olympic skater Michelle Kwan.

Rounding off the cast are Will Arnett of Arrested Development  (Stranz Van Waldenberg) and Amy Poehler, an SNL vet most recently seen in "Mean Girls" and real life wife to Arnett, and Jenna Fischer from "The Office" (Katie Van Waldenberg, the abused younger sister.) This is the dysfunctional family that becomes the competitors and who are determined to win at all costs' only Katie isn't so sure. 

(Jenna Fischer) Katie, sister to skating stars (Amy Poehler)Fairchild (Will Arnett)and Stranz Van Waldenberg who will do anything to get to the top



The multi-talented Craig T. Nelson from "Coach" joins as Coach; Romany Malco seen in "The 40 Year Old Version" plays Jesse; William Fichtner seen in "Crash" plays Jimmy's icy adoptive dad Darren MacElory and Nick Swardson plays Hector, the obsessed fan.

Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) the macho bad boy of skating



In addition to these stars there were numerous ice stars that played parts.  Among them were the amazing Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Nancy Kerrigan, Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming and not the least Sasha Cohen.

The script written by Jeff and Craig Cox was their first screenplay and the additional polish was added by John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.   The brothers had been working at Starbucks when they interested producer John Jacobs ("Cool Runnings") of Smart Entertainment.  It's not often that a first screenplay is good enough to catch the eye of producers.

Making it together as a pair -Jimmy and Chazz



John joined forces with actor/producer Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld from Red Hour Films and Marty Ewing, as Executive Producer.  "Right from the start I knew we had something unique.  No one had ever done a same sexed ice skating pair before," said John in a recent talk.

Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon added their unique touch (They recently sold a pilot based on their Geico caveman).
 

Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, their own unique brand



Those not in the skating world only have a minuscule idea about the fabulous (and expensive) costumes needed for the skaters and each competition needs something better.  The costumes for these events were designed by Julie Weiss - Fire and Ice for the guys National Competition and their Sci Fi special effects suits for the final Olympic Gold performance.   

No film, or skating performance, would be complete without great music.  This was provided by George Drakoulias as music supervisor and Theodore Shapiro as composer.

They're at the top



The characterization in the script is great and of course it was helped with the comic flare of Ferrell and Heder, Arnett and Poehler.  In the end, you see Chazz for what he is, a lonely guy seeking love (not unlike skating's 'bad girl' Tanya) and Jimmy for a naive boy who has spent his whole life concentrating on one thing.  Together they learn what it means to really be a pair.

This is a movie you will want to see if nothing else for the enjoyment of the magnificent ice skating scenes and for someone who loves skating, it's a keeper.

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