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Monday, November 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Men on ice
Blades of Glory makes the case for same-sex pairings
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Heder and Ferrell: Sequined klutzes and their triple lutzes.
Heder and Ferrell: Sequined klutzes and their triple lutzes.

Maybe it's because professional figure skating already seems like such a parody of itself - the cheesy costumes, the waving of the arms, the cheesy costumes. But Blades of Glory, which stars Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as the world's first same-sex pairs team, never quite lifts off the ice. Oh, there's a laugh or three. How could there not be? But when it comes to spoofing a sport that already seems like a spoof, there's nowhere to go but further over the top, and Blades of Glory doesn't do very well up there. Its idea of a joke is to add another layer of flowing fabric. We're just supposed to find it so hilarious that these guys strut around like peacocks (or peahens), complete with tail feathers glued to their butts. But spandex and glitter do not a comedy make.

If they did, Heder would be the funniest man alive. "You mean that blond chick's a dude?" someone asks of his Jimmy MacElroy, who's so comfortable with his feminine side he all but oozes estrogen. That's an interesting idea, the post-gender she-male, and Heder embodies it beautifully, with his swishy curves and rather fierce overbite, not to mention that luxurious head of hair, a.k.a. the Jimmy Curl. But Heder doesn't bring any extra dimensions to the character, just the one the script assigned him. And this more or less hands the movie over to Ferrell's Chazz Michael Michaels, who's so comfortable with his masculine side he basically rubs people's faces in it. Not only has this stud nailed every ice princess since Oksana Baiul, he's got the tattoos to show for it.

With his ample gut performing stretchability tests on tops that make him look like the bastard son of Siegfried and Roy, Ferrell is in full slobbo mode. But maybe we've gotten a little too used to seeing him hang it all out. Or maybe he needed to kick things up a notch. Whatever the explanation, Farrell's rarely as funny as you keep hoping he's about to be. And the script doesn't exactly help him out, preferring to take the easy route when there are so many exotic avenues worth exploring. With this much sexuality in play, it's hard to believe Blades of Glory doesn't entertain the idea that one or both of these dudes might be gay. Instead, it seems content to send them out on the ice together - triple lutzes by a pair of klutzes.

I'd have preferred an ambiguously gay duo.

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