A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Will Ferrell comedy has lots of verbal and sight jokes about sex, homosexuality, drinking, and drugs. There are goofy-but-sometimes-violent physical gags (like a decapitation that features obvious use of a mannequin and fake blood) and ads for sponsored products. Characters fight, get cut by skate blades, shoot harpoons (one hits a mascot in the head and scares screaming children), and do some painful-looking stunts on the ice (splits, falls, ice burns). Figure skating's foppish reputation is skewered repeatedly, with over-the-top spandex costumes, poofy hair, make-up, and histrionic ice dancing. It's especially evident when the two main characters team up to form a spandex-clad male-male pair who hold hands, perform lifts, and accidentally grab and kick each other's crotches. Language includes repeated uses of "sucks," "damn," "s--t," and "ass."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Cocky ice-skating superstar Chazz Michael Michaels Will Ferrell shocks the sports world when he teams up with pretty boy and acclaimed men's singles champion Jimmy (Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder) in BLADES OF GLORY, a veritable "Odd Couple On Ice." After Chazz butts heads with Jimmy, the two bitter rivals are banned from future competition. That is, until Jimmy's most dedicated stalker-fan (Nick Swardson) comes up with the bright idea that they re-enter the circuit as a pair. The idea is so preposterous and yet so obvious -- after all, figure skating has such a "gay" reputation -- that it makes everyone nervous, including fellow skaters who worry about their own hetero-masculine reps. And yet, the guys' coach (Craig T. Nelson) soon has them doing lifts and leaps that no mixed-sex pair can manage (including goofily immature homophobic/homoerotic gags like repeated crotch grabs and a doubled faces-in-crotches pose). Chazz and Jimmy's success ignites the ire of siblings/reigning champs Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, who scheme to ruin their rivals.
Is it any good?
As pleased with itself as any other Will Ferrell comedy, BLADES OF GLORY targets buddy and sports movie conventions, and -- oh yes -- ponders the implied "gayness" of figure skating. Ferrell is loudly ridiculous and oversized, both figuratively and literally -- he gained weight for the part, with his eyes receding into his fleshy face and his belly stretching his spandex costumes. It's all meant to illustrate Chazz's prodigious ego and appetites. More a series of gags than a properly plotted story, Blades of Glory does offer a couple of very funny bits, including one in which a speedy chase on skates down a frozen river leads Chazz and Stranz to the shore. Their rage and fierceness are suddenly stymied, as they must walk -- legs bending and figures contorting as they wobble on their blades -- across a street, across a linoleum floor, and up an escalator.
But as clever as such physical business can be, the film's overwhelming focus is the sexuality anxiety signified by figure skating. While the movie does give Jimmy the requisite heterosexualizing girlfriend (The Office's Jenna Fischer), all that really matters is the pair. Will they make it? You get one guess.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Will Ferrell's appeal. What makes something a "Will Ferrell comedy"? What do many of Ferrell's characters have in common? How are they different? What other kinds of characters has he played? Which do you like best? What age group do you think movies like this one are aimed at?
- In theaters: March 29, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: August 28, 2007
- Cast: Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell
- Director: Will Speck
- Studio: DreamWorks
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references.