Blades of Glory: Awkward Actorly Moments

Blades of Glory: Awkward Actorly Moments

Trucking in Will Ferrell dominated comedies has to get tiresome sooner or later. The same problem may have coaxed Jim Carrey to eventually give a go at some more serious roles even if his subsequent success is endlessly confusing to me. But with the first decade of the 2000s taken over by Ferrell and the extension of his SNL roles into filmic territories, the quality might not be consistent even as the concepts and frames that prop up each one of these features seems at least a bit interesting. It would make sense to avoid any film starring a six foot tall, kinda chunky dude as a world champion figure skater, but considering that the cast includes Amy Poehler, Will Arnet and Jon Heder it might have a bit more to offer than some imagine. Maybe.

Blades of Glory beings with the principal characters competing as sportscasters serve up the background necessary for the rest of the narrative to be properly dispensed. Ferrell’s and Heder’s characters are pretty well explained through their performances on the ice, although the supplemental video bios do a just as well in setting the entire feature up. And yes, the fey skater and the curiously butch Ferrell do eventually team up to compete as a pair after being barred from individual competition.

The resultant training that the pair endures under the tutelage of Craig T. Nelson (yes Coach from Coach) is full of awkward actorly moments with the elder trainer coming off as an out of practice thespian. Maybe he just couldn’t make the switch from football to skating. Regardless of Nelson’s problems on screen, Heder’s on-screen stalker, the inappropriately named Hector (Nick Swardson), during much of the film and specifically during the training portion of the feature gives viewers some of the better haw-haws that Blades of Glory possesses, at one time even telling Heder’s character that he will still eventually be murdered. It’s not classic comedy ala the Marx Brothers, but Blades of Glory can summon a few hefty chortles when least expected.

In reading about the film, the character that Heder occupies is frequently discussed as the gay one to Ferrell’s testosterone tempered foil. And that might be at least a bit valid with Heder’s character given over to the pomp and circumstance of skating’s grace. But Ferrell then simply becomes the bear. There are of course scenes when Heder’s character basically begs for physical interactions with Ferrell, but dissecting those to find meaning only points to the fact that the scenes doesn’t grant open homosexuality for the character. Beyond even this, though, Ferrell’s character is still a participant in the duo’s finale which does seem to approximate two men scissoring each other – an odd way to end a performance.

Considering the premise to the film and it’s lampooning a specific sports subculture, much in the same way that Talladega Nights did, seemed an easy entry to comedy. The main problem, though, comes in the form of Heder’s performance, perhaps pointing at the fact that he peaked with Napoleon Dynamite.