Sometimes Hollywood gets so overstuffed with brainless nonsense and lengthy dramas that it ends up spitting out completely random ideas like putting Ron Burgundy and Napoleon Dynamite on a skating rink wearing tight spandex.
America usually ends up buying the idea regardless, but thankfully, this time the product was entertaining enough to be worthy of a rental.
“Blades of Glory,” which somehow is not part of Will Ferrell’s “Mediocre American Man Trilogy,” tells the story of two figure skaters, played by Ferrell and Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”), who both happen to fit the idiotic yet lovable model that one would expect from any non-serious Ferrell movie.
When the two tie for an Olympic gold medal, a heated battle ensues during the awards ceremony, ultimately getting them banned from the sport; unless, of course, they compete together as a couple.
Now imagine the most homoerotic figure skating ever filmed and there you have “Blades of Glory.” When Ferrell gracefully takes the ice holding Heder in every homosexual position possible, you can’t help but laugh at such an unfamiliar, yet slightly disturbing, sight. On top of that, the terrible special effects required to make it look as though either actor can skate makes for even more hilarious, unsettling fun.
Ferrell brings his usual “oblivious to common sense” style to Chazz Michael Michaels, a sex-addicted figure skater dubbed “Sex on Ice.” No matter the film or the character, Ferrell only has to act brainless and turn on the improvisation switch to get any crowd laughing.
Heder, who looks far too much like Owen Wilson 90 percent of the time, is still acting like Napoleon Dynamite in every film he stars in, which I can finally conclude is all he knows how to do. His character, a once-orphan boy turned child prodigy by a billionaire, appears to be no more than Napoleon Dynamite in tights, which is hilarious in its own right, but not what the script was trying so hard to portray (perhaps a flaw to blame on both Heder and the writers).
Beyond Ferrell and Heder, however, is one person who deserves more praise than anyone in the entire production: costume designer Julie Weiss. A character can simply stand still in a frame and you’ll be forced to laugh just by looking at the ridiculously flamboyant sweat suits and costumes. When all else fails in a scene, the costumes do well to get some kind of laugh from the audience.
“Blades of Glory” is shockingly both directed and written by a handful of talented gentlemen who are just breaking into Hollywood. They are not quite talented enough, however, to make you come out of the theater with a dozen lines to quote for the rest of the year, like one would expect from an Adam McKay and Ferrell trilogy installment (i.e. “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman”).
Unfortunately, the one problem holding the film back from the glory it advertises is the premise itself. While NASCAR drivers and news anchors have always had stereotypes connected to them that the audience immediately recognizes, figure skaters simply have Michelle Kwan and wavy hair to reference.
When all you can do with a figure skating sports comedy is use homosexual jokes, the film ends up relying on an expectedly poor love story between Heder and Jenna Fischer (aka Pam from “The Office”), who can barely act consistently with a one-dimensional character.
Thankfully, we can’t blame Farrell for any of the weaknesses in “Blades of Glory”; he didn’t write the screenplay and he played his part well.
But much like how “Man of the Year” was at least worthy of a rental to see some great Robin Williams standup comedy, Ferrell and his spandex-sporting friends will be waiting for you in three months for the same old silly, brainless comedy audiences have grown to love.