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Living - April 6, 2007

Movie review: Blades of Glory

Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references. 1 hours, 33 minutes. Two stars.

Will Ferrell is skating on thin ice. The Saturday Night Live alum has long embraced absurdist comedy (think "Anchorman" or "Talladega Nights"), often with hilarious results ("Old School" is a personal favorite).

Not this time. Although Ferrell does supply most of the film's intermittent laughs, the ridiculous concept and poor execution put "Blades" at the bottom of Ferrell's otherwise winning resume.

Two celebrated male figure skaters -- child prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder of "Napoleon Dynamite") and "lone wolf" Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) -- are at the pinnacle of their profession. The two very different men are heated rivals, a discord that culminates with a violent melee at the World Championships. The embarrassing clash gets both skaters banned from the sport for life -- and MacElroy disowned by his greedy adopted dad.

Flash forward three-and-a-half years. MacElroy works the ice-skates department of a shoe store while Michaels drunkenly performs for a children's ice show. Things perk up when MacElroy's self-professed stalker (Nick Swardson) finds a loophole in the skating rulebook. MacElroy can return to competition in pairs' figure skating, and who better to team with than his one-time rival? Soon MacElroy and Michaels are making nice and training under MacElroy's coach (Craig T. Nelson) in hopes of winning championship gold.

Michaels is a riotous anti-skater. The out-of-shape showboat is a sex addict and a lush -- a far cry from the figure-skater stereotype we've seen on ESPN. And Ferrell plays the role with gusto, never once taking the character seriously. Heder, on the other hand, offers little in the laughs department. Sadly, the young performer isn't a very dynamic actor. Most of his portrayals seem a mere variation on the role that made him famous in "Napoleon Dynamite." Ben Stiller (one of the film's producers) or Owen Wilson would have been smarter casting choices.

Ferrell fans will find flashes of hilarity in "Blades," but DVD is a better outlet for these silly skaters.

--Tyler Hanley

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