Kicking ice

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder take on the world of figure skating in Blades of Glory

FIRE ON ICE<br>Will Ferrell and the Napoleon Dynamite guy join forces on the rink.

Will Ferrell and the Napoleon Dynamite guy join forces on the rink.

Starring Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
Rated 4.0

Putting Will Ferrell in a one-piece Lycra leotard and asking him to be graceful is like watching an elephant don a tutu and join the ballet—it’s ridiculous, and you know it won’t work, but hell yeah, I’d pay to see it!

Blades of Glory puts Ferrell in a leotard. And asks him to dance. And it is a thing of, well, not quite beauty—but definitely entertainment. Ferrell’s awkwardness is perfect for this type of physical comedy. Even scenes that show him executing triple axels without a hitch are hilarious—because it’s just not possible. (And the slightly ridiculous computer-generated tricks involved in making it look possible are all the better for it.)

Ferrell plays Chazz Michael Michaels, the only man to have won a gold medal in figure skating as well as an adult-film award. He’s a self-described sex addict whose masculinity shows through in his routines (can you picture a masculine figure-skating routine?).

Chazz’s chief rival comes in the form of Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), whose overly effeminate demeanor puts quite a different spin to his performance—he dresses as a swan and skates delicately and precisely, while Chazz seems to think he’s at a rock show, complete with pelvic thrusts and leather.

When the two fight each other to the ice after a competition, they are banned from figure skating for life—sending them in separate downward spirals.

But wait! There’s a loophole! Nobody ever said they couldn’t skate in the doubles category. And who better to re-emerge as the pair’s coach than, well, Coach (yes, it’s Craig T. Nelson)? All of a sudden the enemy turns from Jimmy to the brother-sister team of Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (real-life couple Will Arnett and Amy Poehler), who will do anything to sabotage the new competition.

The dynamics between Chazz and Jimmy are wonderful. Chazz is an overweight, oversexed drunk. And Jimmy is a delicate little flower, with perfectly wispy blond hair to prove it. Their styles have to merge somewhere in the middle. The gay jokes predictably ensue, but actually they poke more fun at the world of pairs figure skating than anything.

The Van Waldenbergs, who torture their little sister Katie (The Office‘s Jenna Fischer) into spying on the competition, add just the right touch of quirkiness to the film. Stranz, who seems to be lacking a few brain cells, contributes to one of the funnier scenes in the movie, involving a chase on ice skates.

Cameos from skaters such as Nancy Kerrigan and Bryan Boitano (and an unexpectedly funny one from Sasha Cohen) show that the real world of figure skating isn’t afraid to laugh with us.