Monday, April 02, 2007

Blades of Awesome


Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory's main premise is that Will Farrell and Napolean Dynamite are ice dancers. Sure, they dress the plot up with some arch-rivals- that-must- band-together- for-a- triumphant-comeback buddy-picture window dressing, but that's secondary. The real point of the movie is to have funny people wear funny costumes and prance around on the ice. This it delivers.

Invariably, this will be compared to Talladega Nights, Farrell's previous sports lampoon. And there's no doubt that there was more exploration of male sexuality, the social contradictions in NASCAR's move from redneck-backwater to mainstream sporting event, and American parenting and family structure in Talladega Nights. Blades of Glory is far less ambitious - aiming almost entirely for slapstick appeal.

But Blades works in one way that Nights does not - pacing. At just over 90 minutes, Blades of Glory has clearly had a lot of padding cut out. There are jokes in the commercials that don't make it to the screen, and that's a good thing. The movie works best on ice, and the directors have just barely enough dialogue and story development in between skating scenes to establish some sense of humanity in the characters. But unlike Nights, which had some long laugh-free spells, this film doesn't get bogged down in it. They give you just enough that you are rooting for the dysfunctional protagonists by the end, but not so much that it distracts from the men prancing in funny ways.

You won't see too many people stretching their wings. Will Farrell, Amy Poehler (of SNL fame), and Will Arnette (GOB on Arrested Development) deliver on their core competencies, but you won't see anything new from them. John Heder (Napolean Dynamite) is again playing a delightfully clueless and socially inept man-child, but brings some freshness to it - he isn't out of ideas yet. Jenna Fischer (The Office) is still playing a Pam-like sweet-girl-all-grown-up but again branches out a little bit. The nice surprise is Craig T. Nelson, who's intentionally lampooning his old "Coach" tv persona.

Filmed in - 2 beers. You don't have to be lit to enjoy this movie, but a couple of beers won't hurt.

Depth Gauge - Big puddle. No one would go to a movie that combined Will Farrell with figure skating and expect social commentary. It's not actually stupid, but highbrow it ain't.

Long-story-short - there were at least two times where I was hoping for something lame so I could rest the muscles in my face - they were starting to hurt. If you're in the mood for laughing at a stupid movie, this is the one for you.

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