EVER SINCE heportrayed a heartbreakingly earnest cheerleader on Saturday Night Live, WillFerrell has shown that he gets the comic possibilities of modern sports.Stereotypes remained his specialty as he moved on to movies such as Old School,Kicking and Screaming and Talladega Nights and gave us, respectively, therhythmic gymnast, soccer dad and stock car driver from hell. In his latest filmFerrell is as ungainly and un-self-aware as ever, but as a figure skater inBlades of Glory he turns that sport's biggest stereotype on its head.
Instead ofstriving for flamboyance, Ferrell plays his Chazz Michael Michaels as ahyperhetero badass who loves the bottle, his "bod" and, especially, theladies. (He has a tattoo for every female skater he's bedded. Michelle Kwan,how could you?) When Chazz nails a triple Axel while skating to Billy Squier'sThe Stroke, announcer Jim Lampley marvels that Chazz is "an ice devouringsex machine," which almost certainly has never been said about JohnnyWeir.
Chazz'sboorishness is a problem for his prim and proper archrival, Jimmy MacElroy (JonHeder). The two butt heads—literally, during a brawl as they jostle forposition on the podium—and are both banned for life from singles competition.Soon after they decide to exploit a rule-book loophole by competing asmale-male doubles partners at the World Wintersport Games. It's at that pointthat the movie falls apart. Teamwork, it turns out, isn't always a goodidea.
Ferrell's Chazzis far more entertaining on his own, when he's acting the role of God's gift tofigure skating (and women). When he teams up with MacElroy, he spends too muchtime imploring his strait-laced (and blandly unfunny) partner to "Loosenup, baby!" Meanwhile, Ferrell's macho streak is virtually the onlyunpredictable element in Blades, which eventually takes swipes at all theobvious skating targets. The hilarious Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are largelywasted as the guys' main rivals; they're given little to work with exceptpredictable Tonya Harding--esque gags.
As in all Ferrellmovies, though, the easy jokes sometimes work, and that's almost always to thestar's credit. It's hard not to laugh when Ferrell stuffs his gut into aspandex robot costume and prances around the ice to Queen's Flash Gordon theme.Because of the dull Heder, though, he's often left looking like a Torvill indire need of a Dean.
SEVERAL PLAYERS blog at NBA.com, but few do it as wellas Gilbert Arenas (www.nba.com/blog/gilbert_arenas). Agent Zero gives anentertaining look at life in the locker room (a recent post explains why hefelt compelled to cut the tops off teammate Andray Blatche's dress shoes), andhe's not afraid to ruffle feathers. A recent entry detailing $10 bets he madewith two fans during a loss to Portland last week was taken down by the league.Arenas, though, is a man of his word. When he failed to hit the game-winner, ashe wagered he would, he got the fans' e-mail addresses. "I owe somebody 10bucks," he explained.
SO MUCH for looks meaning everything in television.Square-jawed, perfectly coiffed Joe Theismann is out of ESPN's Monday NightFootball booth. (Speculation is that the reason was his poor chemistry withfellow analyst Tony Kornheiser.) Theismann is being replaced by Ron Jaworski(left), a pal of Kornheiser's from way back. This victory for regular-lookingpeople is brought to you by ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson, whosaid that Theismann still has a home at the network despite his handsomeness:"We want Joe Theismann to be a prominent voice of football atESPN."