Time: 93 mins.
Genre: Sports Comedy
SYNOPSIS: After being banned from their sport for life, two male figure skaters who just happen to hate each other begrudgingly unite to form a pairs team in order to compete again and accomplish their dreams of winning gold.
BOTTOM LINE: While this movie has definite moments of comedy gold, especially in the first half hour, there just isn't enough of a plot or character development to fashion it into a pitch perfect performance. Heder and Ferrell are both men without shame when it comes to their craft and they work magically off one another here, as the yin and yang of male figure skating. Heder is all pretty-boy grace and Ferrell is sex on skates. Nothing is too embarrassing to get a laugh and they seem to relish the silliness and seriousness of the skating world. Their routines are believable, yet ridiculous all at the same time. Their rivalry and subsequent friendship hilariously crafted.
While they're onscreen together, the film is energetic and hilarious. When it falls into the various subplots the air seems to go out of the enterprise. Poehler and Arnett just seem to be trying too hard, their incestuous siblings willing to do anything to win the gold medal are more creepy than funny. Fischer does a decent job as Heder's love interest, but she's far too normal to fit in with this crowd. Even though her character gives the film sweetness and heart, she sticks out like a sore thumb, unable to keep up with the manic antics of her co-stars. She tries her best, but the outrageousness of the physical comedy clearly makes her uncomfortable. It's partly how her character is written, partly "I have to do what?"
Much like the announcers in DODGEBALL, one has to give a shout out to Scott Hamilton and Jim Lampley, who show they have a very good sense of humor about their sport. Because they're real-life sportscasters the lines they deliver, describing the action on the ice, are doubly hilarious due to their credibility. They almost steal the show. It's obvious that the actors aren't really skating, but that doesn't take away from the laughs drawn out by their routines. The recap of the Poehler/Arnett finale where they act out the love affair between JFK and Marilyn Monroe is bitingly clever and more than a bit demented.
The quality of the supporting cast makes this Ferrell vehicle better than it has a right to be. Mostly because there are plenty of other actors adding their talent to the pot. This isn't Ferrell's best film, but it is one that at least has a decent story, memorable characters and enough laughs to keep one entertained.