Blades of Glory sees Will Ferrell do for ice-skating what he did for newsreaders in Anchorman. And racing drivers in Talladega Nights. And elves in... well, you get the point. Your enjoyment of Blades of Glory will be based entirely on your affection — or otherwise — for Ferrell’s amiably surreal way with a line and barely contained manic presence. The law of averages alone suggests that Ferrell’s bubble must burst soon. The previous theory — that he could read the phone book and make people laugh — was proven wrong by the very poor Bewitched and the even worse The Producers but here, back on gleefully silly home turf, he shines. Better than that, Ferrell is surrounded by some other excellent comic actors, such as Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer and, in particular,Will Arnett who squeeze maximum mileage from their assorted roles.
In the case of Ferrell, that’s as Chazz Michael Michaels, the leather clad rock god of figure skating. He’s the world’s number one. Sort of. He’s currently sharing that position with Jimmy MacElroy (Heder), the personification of perfect-posture and grace. At the World Championships, their rivalry comes to a head when forced to share gold. A fight breaks out, mascots get set alight, and Michaels and MacElroy find themselves banned from the sport for life. Three-and-a-half years later, Michaels is a drunk womaniser and has been reduced to playing the evil wizard in a kids ice show, while MacElroy sells sporting goods. However, there’s a glimmer of hope: Jimmy’s stalker, embarrassed at his idol’s fall from grace (but still planning to kill him one day) discovers a loophole in the rules. Jimmy was suspended from men’s singles competitions. He can still enter pairs competitions.
With just two days to find a partner, Jimmy is struggling to find a suitable female, until chance brings him into contact again with Chazz. And there’s nothing in the rules about a male/male partnership... Detractors will no doubt sneer that this is a one joke movie, a politically incorrect sniggerfest over two men dancing together. To some extent they’ve got a point and rather too many gags do revolve around genitalia, the placing of hands, etc. But when the team cut loose, they really cut loose. The new rivalry — with scary brother and sister duo Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenburg (Arnett and Poehler) — is hilarious. It’s generally all stupidity for the sake of stupidity, of course, and a subplot involving the budding romance between third Van Waldenburg child (Fischer) and MacElroy is hardly the most original of twists. But it doesn’t really matter because Blades of Glory is eminently quotable and pant-threateningly funny.