Such is his popularity at present that only four words - Will Ferrell does NASCAR – were required to convince Sony to commission his last project, the $150 million making Taladega Nights.

And so, treading a similar path, we now have "Will Ferrell does figure skating" in this hit and miss comedy from former ad directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon.

Ferrell plays the ridiculously named Chazz Michael Michaels, a skater from the wrong side of the tracks with addictions to sex, alcohol and abysmal haircuts.

His main rival is Jimmy MacElroy (Heder), a goody two shoes child protegee who despises Chazz’s uncouth demeanour and risqué routines. When the duo ties for gold in the Olympics singles competition they get into a brawl on the podium, which ends up with the tournament mascot being set ablaze and small children crying in the stands.

Stripped of their medals and banned from the competition for life their careers go into freefall until, three and a half years later, one of them spots a loophole that would allow them to compete again as the Olympic’s first all male figure skating pairing.

The dopey repartee, gruesome nudity and quick witted improvisation are textbook Ferrell and his willingness to make himself look utterly ridiculous on screen is unusual for such a huge star.

The chemistry with Heder, in his usual geek chic mode, is surprisingly good too and some of the homoerotic dancing sequences between the pair are certainly worthy of a 6.0 for artistic impression.

Ferrell’s skating probably won’t have impressed legends Dorothy Hamill or Nancy Kerrigan (both of whom make cameos), the paper thin storyline is bogged down in formulaic clichés and a sub plot involving William “Prison Break” Fichtner disappears without a trace after the first hour. However, plenty of decent jokes - “they laughed when Louis Armstrong said he was going to land on the moon” – an attractive love interest (Fischer) and Ferrell walking around in his pants, means that Blades will no doubt take box office gold this weekend.

As with all Ferrell DVD releases, this special features package is stuffed to the gills with behind the scenes footage, bloopers and deleted action.

Frustratingly, however, there is no talk track of any kind, and it would have been interesting to hear how newcomers Josh Gordon and Will Speck attacked their first big screen directing job.

We do get decent contributions from all the major players in an amusing making of featurette entitled “Return to Glory” however, which also sees producer Ben Stiller talking about his involvement in the project. Ferrell, Heder and Will Arnett later brave a Q&A session with fans in “Moviephone Unscripted”, while Nick Swardson gets his own shot at glory in the hit and miss “Hector: Portrait Of A Psychofan” featurette.

Also included is Bo Bice's Blades Of Glory music video, some MTV spots, and 20 questions with real life skate champion Scott Hamilton.

Verdict

Perhaps the most predictable film of the year, in terms of plot and performances, Blades of Glory nevertheless manages to be thoroughly entertaining in parts and never less than mildly amusing for the remainder.

Ferrell is on familiar form, adding ice skating to a sporting CV that already includes football (Kicking and Screaming), NASCAR (Taladega Nights) and Basketball (in the upcoming Semi Pro).

Rating: 12A
Staring: Will Ferrell, John Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, William Fichtner, Jenna Fischer, Craig T Nelson
Directed by: Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Extras: The Making Of Blades, Deleted & Alternative Scenes, Celebrities On Thin Ice, Cooler Then Ice: The Super-Sexy Costumes Of Skating, Arnett And Poehler - A Family Affair, 20 Questions With Scott Hamilton, Hector: Portrait Of A Psychofan, Moviephone Unscripted With Will Ferrell, Jon Heder And Will Arnett, Music Video 'Blades Of Glory' By Bo Bice, Gag Reel, MTV Interstitials

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