This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
September 20th, 2006:
At the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, two rival world-class men’s figure skaters (Will Ferrell
and Jon Heder
) disgraced their sport with an all-out brawl. Consequently, they were both banned from the men’s singles competition for the rest of their lives. After three long, arduous years away from the sport they love, they attempt to put aside their differences and team-up in an effort to exploit a loophole in their suspension. It turns out that there is one category in which they can both still compete – pairs figure skating. Of course, that event is usually reserved for opposite-sex couples and the duo is sure to find fierce competition from rivals far more experienced at the art. Stranz (Will Arnett
) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler
), the uncompromisingly competitive reigning pairs champions, comprise one such team.What to Expect:
If this isn’t a winning combination for a comedy then I don’t know what is. I cannot imagine any fan of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy or Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
not jumping out of their pants as they read the plot synopsis for the movie. Perhaps the only ones that might feel hesitant are those that find the competitive world of figure skating not a manly enough setting for their tastes.
Indeed, the only question mark is the team of filmmakers that has been assembled for the project. Writers Craig and Jeff Cox have no previous experience, while John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky have the television show “King of the Hill” as their only major writing credit. For Josh Gordon
and Will Speck
, Blades of Glory will mark their directing debut. Aside from a couple of short films and a series of commercials, they do not have any other projects to their credit. However, many big names get their start in television advertisements since the medium does allow quite a bit of room for creativity.
When you think about Will Ferrell’s brand of physical humor and his hilariously pompous and often naïve delivery, there isn’t anyone else who could come close in doing a better job with this sort of material. He will wear the pride of being a male figure skater like a badge of honor. One only needs to look at Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy or Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to realize that Ferrell’s work speaks for itself. And the promise of what he might do with a pair of skates and some snugly fitting spandex is irresistible. Article continues below
His on-screen partner, Jon Heder, is an entirely different story. Thanks to Napoleon Dynamite, which is already a lock for the comedy hall of fame, the actor has been landing substantial parts in some of the biggest upcoming Hollywood comedies like School for Scoundrels
, where he stars opposite Billy Bob Thornton
. Unfortunately, even the recent moderate success of The Benchwarmers
has not been enough to help him shed the Napoleon Dynamite image. I find him to be the least promising cast member in Blades of Glory, primarily because I don’t think he has the deadpan delivery that is needed for this comedy. But the boy is trying. He even broke his ankle while shooting the film. It could have cost him the role, but the producers stayed with him.
In the end, the duo that might just outright steal this film is the real-life husband and wife, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, who play the incestuous brother-sister skating team. As the film’s villains, they have been given all the right attributes – they are great dressers, flamboyant skaters, and neurotic competitors. As the multiple-time pairs champions, they are overwhelmingly spoiled and will stop at nothing to derail the success of the film’s heroes. Arnett created an entirely new level of cheesy flair on the beloved show “Arrested Development,” where he played an egocentric and dim-witted spoiled brat that fancied himself a top-notch magician. Poehler’s (“Saturday Night Live,” “Upright Citizens Brigade”) approach to comedy has relied on very similar techniques. Both have managed to play characters with the maximum level of obnoxiousness, while still remaining lovable and cutesy. This is the perfect duo to execute some absolutely awful moves and still look good doing it. I imagine that their off-screen marriage should further help them bring a fantastic dynamic into the picture.
Everything starts with a premise and this one is great, but thanks to this inspired casting, it is elevated by several notches. I’m instantly reminded of the rousing SNL bit where silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan and the overweight, spandex-clad Chris Farley played a catastrophically mismatched figure skating pair. The sketch worked on so many levels simultaneously. I’m hoping for something similar from Blades of Glory and as long as the film’s stars maintain a healthy level of arrogance and seriousness throughout, it should work marvelously. In an interview, Arnett described a scene that appears in the movie: He’s chasing Will Ferrell in a mall, on a pair of skates, with a crossbow, hoping to take him out. It sounds like comedic gold. I only hope it doesn’t become overly slapstick and manages to capitalize on the acting talents of everyone involved rather than on unnecessary comedy action.In Conclusion:
This should be one of the biggest hits of the next spring season. Fans of Will Ferrell probably cannot wait for more after Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby delivered the goods. There was a brief dry period for the star, but the success of the NASCAR comedy should have put any doubts to rest. Jon Heder will hopefully break away from his Napoleon Dynamite chains and will be able to hold his own within this group of talented comedians. As I said earlier, however, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler should be the real scene-stealers here. Moviegoers will eat this premise up like an ice cream sundae.Similar Titles: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
, Wedding Crashers