Bright Lights Film Journal

Blades of Glory: No Betty White, but funny!

Blades of Glory is a winning, genial take on some of the grosser vanities and short-comings of early 21st century America, most notably, the balls to the wall, yet totally inept amateur theatricality of American Idol, even though the actual subject of the film is the “world” of professional figure skating.[1] Figure skating and B-list celebrities, that is, so many that I had to stop counting,[2] though I sure didn’t stop at Sasha Cohen, who can sniff my jock any time.

Blades of Glory pretty much plants itself on the hairy gut of Will Ferrell and the girly lips of Jon Feder, firm foundations indeed.[3] Will and Jon play warring figure skaters. Will is the bad boy of the ice and Jon the shining sissy. When they tie for the gold, a pushing and shoving match, which rather strangely never descends to actual hair-pulling, gets them banned from competition for life.[4]

Three and a half years later, we see drunken, pill-popping Will staggering through Z-list celebrity Hell, wearing a big head in a third-rate kid’s show, so low it’s not even branded![5] Jon has it even worse: he’s not even on skates! He’s selling them!
Naturally, all this has to change. Jon has a stalker/fan who refuses to let the dream die. Jon can come back to the ice, in partner skating! Well, it makes sense, and Jon sets out to find himself a chick, but life, she’s a funny, and he ends up partnered with Will! Hey, “stuff happens,” in the immortal words of Donny Rumfeld.

Yes, it is a bit contrived, but it’s funny. Blades of Glory is a long way from auteurville, but ignore all the mainline critics who tell you that this is a step down from Talladega Nights.[6] This is a big, big step up from Talledega Nights![7] In fact, I’d put it at least on a par with Ron Burgundy if not higher, even though Christina Applegate is way cuter than Jon Feder.[8] This is the funniest film since Monica Lewinsky had tits.

[1] What about the real shortcomings of early 21st century America? You know, the torture, the lies, the war-mongering? Well, we’ll just ignore that pour le nonce, si’l vous plaît.
[2] When do you stop being a “star” or even an “actor” and start becoming a B-list celebrity? Obviously, it’s a fine line, but I think that both “Coach” Craig T. Nelson and Andy Richter have stepped across it.
[3] Feder seems to wear lip gloss even when his character wouldn’t. Hey, it’s his career, not mine.
[4] Because there’s one thing on which outlaws and pretty boys agree: it’s all about the hair!
[5] You’d think he might get a gig in Shrek on Ice, right? Think of the flaming fart jokes!
[6] Blades of Glory has even received some ragging for the fact that it had four writers. Well, it’s four times funnier than a lot of films with only one “genius.” The whiny, bitchy, “he started it,” fraternal bickering between Will and Jon is a constant delight.
[7] If put to the test, I’d rather watch figure skating, which is pretty much about teen-age butts, than rednecks go around in circles in cars.
[8] Christina must have had an “I must look absolutely gorgeous in every shot” clause in her contract for that flick, because she did. The definitive Christina!