out of Five
Running time: 93
Hilarious comedy with superb comic performances from Heder and Ferrell and some impressive digital trickery during the ice skating scenes.
What's it all about?
Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) plays ice skating champion Jimmy McElroy, whose grace and technical perfection on the ice place him in direct competition with swaggering, rock star-like Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell). When they get into a fistfight on the gold medal podium at the World Championships, they find themselves stripped of their medals and banned from professional skating for life.
However, three years later, Jimmy's weird stalker (Nick Swardson) uncovers a loophole that would allow them to compete again as the sport's first male partnership. Even with training from Jimmy's ex-coach (Craig T Nelson), they're going to have to put aside their differences if they want to defeat creepy brother-sister champions Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler).
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder make a terrific comic partnership, both on and off the ice. Their constant bickering is extremely funny and there's a surprising amount of chemistry between them. In addition, the skating scenes are superbly handled, blending dazzling choreography and seamless effects' work to produce hilarious routines that are actually convincing.
The supporting cast are equally good. Stand-outs include real-life partners Arnett and Poehler (Arnett did a lot of his own skating), William Fichtner as Jimmy's super-strict adoptive father and Jenna Fischer (from the American Office) as the Van Waldenberg's put-upon younger sister, who falls for Jimmy.
The plot may be a little underdeveloped but the witty script ensures that you're never more than a few seconds away from a sparkling one-liner or a laugh-out-loud visual gag. Gross-out humour is thankfully kept to a minimum although there's a joke involving toilet paper that germ-phobic viewers may wish to avoid.
In short, this is a well written, impeccably directed and consistently funny comedy with terrific comic performances from its two stars. Highly recommended.
Blades Of Glory (12A)