Making the Grades
Competitive ice-skating has dealt with some negative press over the years, but staging a comeback after Will Ferrell and Jon Heder step onto the rink may be a real test of the event's ability to endure.
Their fictitious characters of Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) are extreme opposites. As an individual skater in the men's singles category, Jimmy is the graceful, imaginative type who exudes poise and passion on the ice. Chazz, an admitted sex addict, oozes a different kind of raunchy, perverted passion. Yet despite their stylistic differences, the men are in constant competition for the top step of the podium.
Finally at a World Championship, the two Olympians find themselves tied for first. But their moment of glory is ruined when some pushing and shoving between the two men turns into a bloody melee during the playing of the national anthem. The fracas results in both of them being stripped of their gold medals and banned from competing for life.
Three years later, however, Jimmy's former groupie and stalker (Nick Swardson) finds a little known clause in the skating handbook that allows both men back on the ice -- this time as the sport's first male/male pair's team. Now under the tutelage of Jimmy's former coach (Craig T. Nelson), the partners have to put aside their artistic differences as they attempt the never-before-completed Iron Lotus move in an effort to best their new rivals, Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett, Amy Poehler).
As exaggerated as the characters' names, this mockery of the skating world leaves no blade unbent. Lampooning old news stories, competitors use metal bars to take out their opponents --along with crossbows, handcuffs and punches to the head. Chazz's love of liquor and occasional illegal drug use is hardly in keeping with athletic training protocol. In addition, his obsession with sex results in a steady stream of sexual commentary and the man-handling of Jimmy's friend Katie (Jenna Fischer). While audiences won't see much more than cleavage and some brief kissing, the script relies heavily on crude sexual jokes, hints at homosexuality, enhanced crotches and endless pet names for the male anatomy.
Beyond these overstated and malicious ice follies, the depiction of an accidental decapitation and a reenactment of a drug overdose performed during skating competitions are distasteful ploys at humor.
While product placement runs rampant in this film (including a Bud Light logo on the arena boards), the Olympic committee apparently declined to give license for the use of their five interlocking rings. After seeing the movie, one is also left to wonder why skating greats like Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Sasha Cohen, Brian Boitano and Nancy Kerrigan didn't refuse to authorize their faces as well for this absurd assault on the sport that made them famous.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Blades Of Glory.
There are numerous product placements in this film. How many can you find? What impact might these advertisements have on viewers? What logos were modified in the film? Why might some organizations decline having their product shown?
Jimmy and Chazz attempt a dangerous and difficult move in the World Championship finals. What motivates athletes to try more and more challenging routines? What risks are involved? Should sport federations, such as figure skating, hockey, football and others, limit the kind of moves or actions their competitors can be involved in?
Although pairs competitions presently showcase male/female partners, what impact might a film like this have on future events?