What can we deduce from Will Ferrell’s appearance as lothario ice-skating champ Chazz Michael Michaels, one half of the world’s first all-male figure-skating duo with Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), in Blades Of Glory? One, that Ferrell loves making/spoofing sports movies (see also Kicking & Screaming and Talladega Nights), especially if it involves squeezing into body-hugging spandex. Two, he’s partial to characters named Chazz (Wedding Crashers) and laughter-by-big hair (Anchorman; Zoolander). And three, anyone worried that his last film Stranger Than Fiction signalled an alarming swerve towards serious roles needn’t fret: this “ice-devouring sex tornado” is his most ludicrous creation yet.
As sex-hungry party animal Chazz, whose podium brawl with fem-boy rival Heder earns them a life-ban until someone spots a rulebook loophole, Ferrell’s here to play – loud, fast and hard. Unlike Anchorman and Talladega Nights, he gets no credit for Glory’s script and has entrusted himself to the green creative team of Josh Gordon and Will Speck. But then who needs behind-the-camera pedigree when you have Ferrell unleashed and Napoleon Dynamite in ice-blue spandex? And with Glory barely evolved from a sketch-show routine on the scripting scale, the pair need to have their comedy skates on properly in order to glide over some bumpy patches.
Will’s laugh-hog rampage, unfortunately, leaves Heder eating his dust, although with his feathery blond locks (the “Jimmy curl”) and pink-glossed lips, he’s a walking punchline. Liberace would out-butch Heder’s cherubic Jimmy, but the script bequeaths him both a creepy gay stalker and a potential girlfriend (Jenna Fischer, from American Office fame), largely to help side-skate around the homosexual-panic minefield of two chaps pressed together crotch-to-bum in between the triple lutzes (brilliantly defused by some priceless deadpanning from Ferrell).
As far as offering a glimpse into this ripe-for-mocking sport, Blades Of Glory makes Talladega Night’s Nascar snapshot look like documentary realism. Don’t expect to see the next Dancing On Ice champs scoring maximum points off Robin Cousins for a routine about JFK’s affair with Marilyn Monroe, complete with suicidal, pill-popping climax, anytime soon (like Ferrell and Heder’s cheating rivals Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). But, that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to watch a flabby comic genius in ripped-leather trousers riding his blades to gold to the tune of Billy Squier’s sleazeball classic ‘The Stroke’. And that’s what we get.
No gold medal for this disposable ice-skating comedy, but Ferrell delivers some very big laughs, with game assistance from an über-fey Heder.