Blades of Glory
|Blades of Glory|
Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Edited by||Richard Pearson|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$145.7 million|
Blades of Glory is a 2007 American sports comedy film directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck and starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as a mismatched pair of banned figure skaters who become teammates upon discovering a loophole that will allow them to compete in the sport again. The film's story was conceived by Busy Philipps, who "fleshed out the screenplay"; co-writers Jeff and Craig Cox, however, dropped her name from the script. The film was produced by MTV Films, Red Hour, and Smart Entertainment and released on March 30, 2007, by Paramount Pictures.
At the 2002 World Winter Sport Games, rival men's singles skaters Chazz Michael Michaels, a skillful skater but raunchy sex addict, and Jimmy MacElroy, an equally talented but sheltered and effeminate skater, tie for gold. From the start, the two skaters are clearly polar opposites with different backgrounds; Chazz grew up on the streets of Detroit and is a self-taught skater, while Jimmy was adopted by Darren MacElroy, a wealthy man who adopts children showing stupendous athletic ability. While standing on the awards podium after both skaters tying for gold, the two have an argument that escalates into a fight and ends with the World Games mascot being accidentally set on fire. As a result, the National Figure Skating Association strips both men of their medals and bans them from men's singles competition for life. Darren immediately disowns Jimmy and leaves him stranded on the side of the road.
Three and a half years later, both men have grudgingly taken on alternative occupations: Jimmy is working at a winter sporting goods store but he gets demoted to stockroom duty when he refuses to listen to a little girl when she tells him her skating boot has been tied too tightly. Chazz plays the role of "The Evil Wizard" in a children's skating show called "Grublets On Ice," until he is fired for ruining the show by being in a drunken stupor on stage.
Jimmy's obsessive stalker, Hector, tells him of a loophole in the ban allowing him to compete in pair skating. In hopes of entering the upcoming World Winter Sport Games, Jimmy contacts his old coach, Robert, whom Darren had fired prior to the ban because of the tie, but is unable to find a partner. Jimmy's search for a last-minute partner leads him to Chazz, and Robert convinces the two to skate as the first-ever same-sex pairs team, because the regulations fail to state the genders of the pairs.
Robert informs them that to win, they will need to get along and perform an element that has never been performed successfully: The "Iron Lotus," an extremely complicated maneuver that Robert developed years ago. However, it is also dangerous: the only attempt of the maneuver was "behind the Bamboo Curtain" in North Korea, and resulted in the man decapitating the woman with his skate blade. Nonetheless, they decide to attempt it as Robert is convinced that two males would be better suited for the move because of the physics of a same-sex team. In the meantime, brother and sister competitors Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, who are worried that their spot as the top team is threatened when Jimmy and Chaz perform well at a Winter Sports Games qualifier, command Katie Van Waldenberg, their younger sister, to disrupt the duo by going out with Jimmy and then having sex with Chazz.
When Katie falls in love with Jimmy after going on a date with him, her elder siblings threaten to harm him if she does not comply. Katie gets Chazz's attention after attending a sex addict's meeting as the newest member, then invites Chazz to her room, and tries to seduce him. Chazz refuses out of respect for Jimmy, delighting Katie, but cannot resist grabbing her breasts. Jimmy witnesses this and is outraged at Chazz's and Katie's betrayals. Chazz attempts numerous times to apologize to Jimmy, but is unsuccessful.
In an attempt to sabotage the performance the following day, Stranz and Fairchild kidnap both Chazz and Jimmy, but both are able to escape. Chazz and Jimmy arrive in the ice rink just in time to compete, where they reconcile quickly and begin their routine, which has a science fiction theme. Fairchild, seeing the two doing well, throws pearls onto the ice, causing Chazz to trip and break his ankle, rendering him unable to perform his role in the Iron Lotus. Jimmy then offers to switch places with him.
Although they have never practiced the other's roles, they perform it perfectly, winning the competition. In the end, Jimmy reconciles with Katie, and the two pursue a relationship. As for Stranz and Fairchild, they end up arrested due to the kidnappings and Stranz accidentally shooting a mascot. Stranz and Fairchild begin arguing, then kiss each other incestuously before they are handcuffed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Jimmy and Chazz receive the gold medal and fly off into the sky via rockets on their skates. During the credits, Hector is seen playing with dolls of himself, Jimmy and Chazz.
- Will Ferrell as Charles "Chazz" Michael Michaels
- Jon Heder as James "Jimmy" MacElroy
- Zachary Ferren as Young James "Jimmy" MacElroy
- Will Arnett as Stranz Van Waldenberg
- Amy Poehler as Fairchild Van Waldenberg
- William Fichtner as Darren MacElroy
- Jenna Fischer as Katie Van Waldenberg
- Craig T. Nelson as Coach Robert
- Romany Malco as Jesse
- Nick Swardson as Hector
- Rob Corddry as Bryce
- William Daniels as Commissioner Ebbers
- Luke Wilson as Sex Class Counselor
Skaters as members of cast or crew
The film's cast and crew includes dozens of people with backgrounds in skating:
- Sarah Kawahara – Main Choreographer
- Lisa Marie Allen – Assistant Choreographer
- Sasha Cohen – Herself
- Scott Hamilton – Himself/Commentator
- Peggy Fleming – Herself/Skating Official
- Brian Boitano – Himself/Skating Official
- Dorothy Hamill – Herself/Skating Official
- Nancy Kerrigan – Herself/Skating Official
- Chad Brennan – Will Ferrell's skating double
- Ethan Burgess – Jon Heder's skating double
- Patrick Hancock – Will Arnett's skating double / Will Ferrell's skating double 2
- Tiffany Scott – Amy Poehler's skating double
- Todd Sand – Additional skating/Jon Heder
- Forrest Ryan McKinno – Chazz Stunt Skate Double Chase
- Scott Irvine – Stunt Skate Double
- Armen Saakian – Stunt Skate Double
- Akop Manoukian – Stunt Skate Double
- John Zimmerman – Stunts/Himself
- Kyoko Ina – Stunts/Herself
- Yuka Sato – Stunts/Herself
- Jamie Salé – Stunts/Herself
- David Pelletier – Stunts/Himself
- Benjamin C. Oberman – Skating Consultant
- Jonathon DePaz – On-ice Camera Operator
- Judy Blumberg – Amy Poehler's coach
- Susan Austin – Will Ferrell's coach
- Dawn Porter – Jon Heder's coach
- Julie Brault – Skating Coach (Montreal)
- Matt Evers – Skate Tree 1
The movie was based on Busy Philipps' idea and she worked on the screenplay. However, in an oral history about the movie for Nerdist, Craig Cox fully attributed the idea of Blades of Glory to his brother, Jeff Cox. The oral history has since been updated with information about Philipps' contributions. Phillips discusses the whole incident in her memoir, This Will Only Hurt A Little, stating that she should be credited as a co-writer in the credits and that she had registered the idea with the Writers Guild of America West at its inception, having come up with the concept – even suggesting Ferrell as one of the two co-leads (alongside Ben Stiller) – while she and then-boyfriend Craig were watching tv together when he visited her in Vancouver, during production of White Chicks.
All of the scenes at the National Figure Skating Championships and World Wintersport Games were shot at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The stadium used for the outside shoots is the unique Montreal Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Olympics. The outdoor chase scenes were also shot on-location in Montreal. The building used for athlete housing in Montreal was the unique Habitat 67, built for Expo 67. The film was delayed for a small undetermined period of time when Jon Heder broke his ankle while doing a skating program for the film.
Blades of Glory grossed $118.2 million in the U.S. and Canada and $26.3 million in other territories, for a total of $145.7 million.
The film grossed $33 million on its opening weekend on March 30 – April 1, 2007, with 3,372 theaters, averaging $9,790 per screen, beating out Disney's Meet the Robinsons to be the number 1 film. It made $22.5 million in its second weekend, losing only 32% of its audience and retaining the Number 1 spot.
The film received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 70%, based on 185 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Thanks to the spirited performances of a talented cast – particularly Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as rivals-turned-teammates – Blades of Glory successfully spoofs inspirational sports dramas with inspired abandon." On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
The Monthly critic Luke Davies accepted the film as a fun romp, comparing it to Will Ferrell's previous movies Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and wrote positively of Ferrell's performance, describing that "there is a parodic exhilaration to everything Ferrell does; there's always the sense that any scene is precariously close to being a blooper reel." However, Davies conceded that, like the other two films, the plot was "formulaic ... [with] an obviousness to the set-ups, a no-nonsense compression, a sometimes clunky transition from one sequence to the next" but that it was the film's ability to "venture to fantastically absurd places – to set aside the rapid and hokey forward movement – and there to idle in neutral, in zones of pure comic exploration" and offer "moments of expansive hilarity ... that made the films worthwhile."
- Blades of Glory at Box Office Mojo
- Ivie, Devon. "Busy Philipps Was 'Gaslit' Into Thinking She Didn't Actually Dream Up Blades of Glory". New York mag. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Kile, Meredith. "13 of Busy Philipps' Best Celeb Stories From 'This Will Only Hurt a Little'". ET. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Philipps, Busy (2018). This Will Only Hurt a Little. Toronto: Touchstone. pp. 192–197. ISBN 978-1-5011-8471-0.
- "Jon Heder Shoots "Blades of Glory" With Broken Ankle – Starpulse Entertainment News Blog". Archived from the original on 2006-04-14.
- "Blades of Glory". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com.
- "Blades of Glory". rottentomatoes.com.
- "Home - Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
- ""Mind Bottling: Will Speck & Josh Gordon's "Blades of Glory"". The Monthly.
- General references
- Breznican, Anthony (February 5, 2007). "Heder, Ferrell skate for comedy gold". USA Today. Retrieved February 5, 2007.
- Tolson, Shaun (March 11, 2007). "Leap into Hollywood: Local skater subs for Will Ferrell in comedy "Blades of Glory"". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on March 23, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2007.
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