Case Number 21985: Small Claims Court


MGM // 1992 // 101 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 10th, 2011

The Charge

Two can make all the difference in the world!

The Case

Chilly Kate Mosley (Moira Kelly, The Lion King) is an uptight figure skater who can't seem to keep a male partner around for more than five minutes. Doug Dorsey (D.B. Sweeney, NBC's The Event) is a down-on-his-luck ex-hockey pro whose eye injury has left him permanently sidelined. When Doug and Kate are brought together on a trial basis as new figure skating partners, it's easy to see these two couldn't be a worse fit. Still, Kate's gruff but caring coach (Roy Dotrice, Hellboy II: The Golden Army) and father (Terry O'Quinn, Lost) see something in Doug that Kate doesn't: a partner who can potentially help her go for the gold at the next Olympics. As Kate and Doug clash, their skills as an ice skating team heat up in a romantic comedy that proves sometimes ice and fire make the best match!

The Cutting Edge has become a home video cult phenomenon, because it's a romantic comedy that offers purpose and meaning to both men and women. It's not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination; the ideas and characters contained within its cookie cutter story are about as fresh as month old cheese. And yet there's something about this mediocrity that makes it warm and comforting, like an old blanket you keep pulling out, even though it's a bit worn and tattered around the edges.

The cast aren't Grade-A talent nor have they gone onto bigger and better things. D.B. Sweeney starred in movies of varying quality (the best being the alien abduction flick Fire in the Sky) and Moira Kelly has been relegated to teeny bopper soap operas (including the CW's One Tree Hill). Yet even without superstar status, Kelly and Sweeney (which would make a great '70s folk rock band name) have the chemistry needed to pull off this kind of movie. They're likable and inhabit these characters with ease; Kelly the go-to ice queen, and Sweeney the rough-around-the-edge jock. The oil and water theme has never been easier to watch than it is here.

The Cutting Edge has many amusing scenes I've heard perfect strangers quote from, like the goofy "toe pick" scene which plays to a woman's desire to witness a man try and fail at something he KNOWS he's good at. Turnabout being fair play, the same scene happens with Kelly's character, except with different (and very amusing) results. Other cast members, like Dotrice and O'Quinn, are just good enough to be memorable but never so overbearing that their characters take focus from the romantic leads. There are also some memorable lines of dialogue ("There are only two things I do really well, sweetheart, and skating's the other one!") and a fun musical soundtrack (with a great end theme by Joe Cocker). And while the film's final curtain call is about as obvious as the nose on your face, it earns those closing moments.

Presented in 1.85:1 1080p widescreen and looks very good, if not great. The details here are nice, even when the transfer shows its age. There's a bit of grain, but it's never overly distracting and lends that 'filmic' quality. Fans of the franchise may have hoped for a better transfer than this, but all things considered The Cutting Edge comes across pretty good in high definition.

The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio doesn't pack the punch of newer, more exciting releases (no one will confuse this with the sound mix from Battle: Los Angeles), but is pleasing enough to support the film. There are a few ambient surround sound moments, but they're few and far between. Then again, this is a movie about figure skaters, so what were you expecting? Also included are Spanish and French 2.0 Stereo mixes, as well as English, Spanish, and French subtitles.

Annoyingly, there is no main menu on this disc; the movie starts playing right away, which seems a step backwards for the Blu-ray format. Either way, fans do get a few small bonus features including a 10 minute featurette (ported over from the 2006 DVD release) entitled "The Cutting Edge: Reflections from the Ice" that features Sweeney and Kelly discussing the film, plus an original theatrical trailer.

As I close out this review, I still haven't really touched on what's made The Cutting Edge such a lasting surprise (as evidenced by its two straight-to-video sequels). It's good, but never so good it comes close to treading "masterpiece" status. Maybe this is a case of Hollywood capturing lightning in a bottle; sometimes things just intangibly click without understanding why. It may be the characters, the story, or the music that strike a chord. Or it may be the filmmakers took an age-old formula and knew how to mold it into a durable standard.

Whatever the reason, The Cutting Edge is a perfect date night flick.

The Verdict

For anyone over the age of 30, enjoy spending an evening rocking out with your inner teenager.

Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: MGM
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)

* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurette
* Trailer

* IMDb