Ah Will Ferrell. Your movies are always so stupid and yet I’m almost always entertained by your antics. Since Anchorman I’ve grown to appreciate his comedic works more and more and while I’ve no doubt that I’ve lost brain cells doing so, you’d be lying if you didn’t laugh at least once at the man, whether at his jokes or just out of pity.
Blades of Glory tells the tale of two male figure, Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), skaters at their prime who are disqualified from competing when the two get into a tussle on the ice (started because they both tied for the Gold medal). Years pass and the two eventually meet up again and end up forming an alliance to enter back into the championships under a loophole: while they were both banned from male singles, they were not banned from male pairs. Never before had the skating world seen a male/male pairing and it is likely because the amount of crotch grabbing that goes on during such a team up is more than any man could bear.
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder make a fantastic pairing and while I haven’t been as entertained by a Ferrell movie since, you guessed it, Anchorman (although I did enjoy Stranger than Fiction and I’ll freely admit Talladega Nights is a guilty pleasure), this film is still a lot of fun to watch. Sadly, with most comedies these days, the funniest bits are shown in the trailers, although there were a couple really great one liners that still stick out in my mind (“Whoever invented rope is a real a-hole”).
Perhaps stronger than the Ferrell/Heder pairing is the supporting cast, which ranges from small parts by Rob Corddry (of The Daily Show) and Nick Swarsdon (Reno 911!) to full supporting roles by Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles), Jenna Fischer (The Office) and the comedy pairing of Will Arnett (Arrested Development) and Amy Poehler (SNL). That was a lot of name dropping, but it had to be done—there is some superb talent I this film and while of it may feel squandered, it’s cool just to see so many comedic actors in one film. Seeing Fischer out of her The Office environment was refreshing and I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied with the exposure that Will Arnett gets, but this movie certainly made their jobs as actors even more enjoyable for me to watch.
The film of course is not without its flaws. In fact, I’d say that’s all the film is in the end—a giant flaw. There are no huge scenes that stick out in my mind as hilarious aside from a few of the training exercises or the one-on-one moments with Ferrell and Heder and the movie never seems to transcend through its own acts. The role of William Fichtner, another great actor, as the adopted father of Heder’s character is left alone and un-explored after the first act of the film (although a deleted scene would have brought him back, had it been left him) and overall there isn’t a whole lot to see in the film.
I’m sure you all knew that walking into the film before seeing it, however. It is a typical Ferrell comedy after all and while it isn’t without its enjoyment, it’s certainly not an amazing comedy by any means. Ferrell seems to play the same character type in all of his comedic roles as of late (arrogant ass who learns a lesson in the end…or something akin to a lesson that usually ends up with him winning anyway) and while it works for him, I don’t know how many more movies it’s going to last through.
Once again, I want to mention that I did enjoy watching the film. It’s a brain killer to be sure, but the film isn’t without its merit. There’s a lot of funny scenes to be discovered in the film and at the very least it is worth a Rental.
What, no five different editions of the film? Just a widescreen and fullscreen release? I’m shocked! Yes it’s true, there’s no Unrated “Sharpened Edge” edition (who’s to say it’s not already in the works though?) of the film and judging by the extras on the disc, I doubt we’ll ever see one. While the rear cover mentions only four extras, there are actually three menus full of them, although they’re all rather quick and to the point with their short run times.
Packaged in a standard amaray case, Blades of Glory comes without a cardboard slipcover or paper inserts and is adorned with only a generic matte grey Paramount/Dreamworks disc art. Menus are simple and easy to navigate with little fuss.
Stepping up to the extras is first a series of featurettes which cover the production of the film, the stunts and the costumes of the film. All total the three run together about half an hour and they are loaded with interviews with cast and crew. In addition you’ll learn that Ben Stiller was involved with the film’s production—something I’d no idea of prior to watching the DVD extras. While some may complain that the extras are short, I’m finding the opposite reaction—the film was fun to watch and watching hours of extras on it would probably kill the enjoyment. Nearly all of the extras are under ten minutes in length, most not breaching six minutes in length the further we go along the extras.
“Arnett & Poehler: A Family Affair” starts of funny and ends on a hilarious note. For those who don’t know, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are married in real life and the end result of this featurette is Arnett lamenting about how he doesn’t mind sleeping on the couch. Following up this funny featurette is “20 Questions with Scott Hamilton”, which while it sounds dull at first, the questions begin to get funnier (and faster) as they go along, eventually making this extra barely clock in over five minutes in length.
Despite being a fan of Nick Swardson’s work in Reno 911!, his role in this movie felt highly underused. Nothing ever really came of his obsession with MacElroy and this extras, “Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan” is nothing to really excited about. It’s more of Swardson in character as Hector and while it has some funny bits, is easily skipped.
The deleted scenes and alternate takes are a great bit of fun to watch and the alternate takes really show how much the cast improved their way through the movie. On top of that the deleted scenes give us some serious backstory on Michaels/MacElroy, linking them to the same orphanage. It’s always odd to see such huge plotlines left on the cutting room floor. Oh well. Still the scenes are worth watching if you enjoyed the movie, as they’re simply things that were cut for time, rather than for content.
A music video and a “Moviefone: Unscripted” piece accompanies the rest of the extras, both of which are entertaining. The Moviefone thing, featuring Will Ferrell, Will Arnett and Jon Heder, is especially fun to watch even if it is altogether pointless.
Overall the film is definitely a fun one to watch. The lack of director’s commentary (or even actors commentary) is a slight bummer, but after listening to what Ferrell and other directors talk about on commentaries, I guess I’m not missing out on much (again, referencing Anchorman here). The film is comparable in quality to Talladega Nights, so if you enjoyed that one you’ll enjoy Blades of Glory as well, which makes this one a Rental.