“Blades of Glory,” review by Susan Granger

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After “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights,” Will Ferrell now adds ice-skating star to his list of caricatures.

Ferrell and Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) play rival figure skaters who are stripped of their gold medals and banned from skating solo after brawling on the victory stand after tying for first place at the World Championships but find a loophole that allows them to come back into competition as the first-ever pair of male skaters. Coached by Craig T. Nelson (“Coach”), their unorthodox routine includes a risky maneuver called the Iron Lotus, which has only been attempted in competition once before – and one partner was decapitated. Their European rivals are played by Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) and Amy Poehler (“Saturday Night Live”), a bickering, vaguely incestuous brother/sister team who are determined to sabotage them.

Screenwriters Jeff Cox, Craig Cox, John Altschuler and David Krinsky guilelessly lift the plot from “The Cutting Edge” (1992), while rookie directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, who created Geico’s memorable TV commercials, pile on the goofy, stumbling slapstick. “Talladega Nights” had Sacha Baron Cohen (before “Borat”), so this has skating champion Sasha Cohen.

There are plenty of spoofs of the glitzy, glittering, genteel figure-skating world and cameos by real-life Olympians Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton and Nancy Kerrigan. While Tonya Harding, whose 1994 attack on Kerrigan garnered extensive tabloid coverage, is conspicuously missing, Poehler threatens to break Ferrell’s leg “beneath the knee and above the ankle” and Arnett pursues Ferrell with a steel pipe.

Off-screen, Ferrell has vociferously complained about wearing “the dance belt,” which “hides everything but is not a fun trip.” On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Blades of Glory” glides in with a silly, satirical 6, skating on thin ice.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.