Opening 10 May 2007
Little orphan Jimmy ice skates to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli singing Time to Say Goodbye under the admiring gazes of the nuns. Along comes rich Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner) who collects homeless children with potential and makes a mint off them when they succeed as athletes, musicians, etc. Grown-up Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) rises to the zenith of men’s ice skating championships, complete with glamour, fan adoration and stalking. He meets his match in Chaz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell), an uncouth, pudgy cowboy type, who also skates magnificently. They tie for gold and cause a ruckus worthy of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan during the prize ceremony. Both are thrown out of men’s competition forever. Jimmy’s benefactor dumps him unceremoniously at the side of the highway, and the stalker sniffs, “it’s embarrassing to talk to a has-been.” Jimmy works in a rink, and Chaz suffers the indignity of having to wear a corny costume in Grublets on Ice. Three years later, a coach unites them and they compete in the pair figure-skating category. What a brilliant idea for everyone except ice skating siblings Stranz and Fairchild van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler), who hate competition and go to great lengths to eradicate these two. The film ends with Chaz and Jimmy’s triumphant performance to a rock song by Queen.
Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon have certainly found a niche for an original plot. There are lots of opportunities for jokes (who puts his hand where), satire (celebrity adoptions), spoof (ice skating competition in general), romance (Jimmy and Katie or maybe Chaz and Katie), funny costumes, and a reunion with former ice skating stars such as Scott Hamilton and Peggy Fleming. Chaz and Jimmy sometimes riff like Jack Black and Kyle Gass in Tenacious D. This is for anyone who is suffering from brain overload and needs a dose of, sometimes low class, slapstick. I enjoyed it very much. (Becky Tan)