This nifty little romantic comedy reminded Judge David Johnson of that ice-skating sequence from Batman and Robin. Remember that, when they banged their boots together and ice-skating blades popped out and they started playing hockey with the bad guys? Man, that movie sucked.
Our review of The Cutting Edge (Blu-ray), published August 10th, 2011, is also available.
Chalk them up to the "where are they now" file, but D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly provided many folks with a solid dose of romcom glee when they starred in this 1992 opposites-attract-and-then-skate-real-good flick. Here now is the "Gold Medal Edition"—does it earn its gold or should it be stripped of its medal?
Facts of the Case
When Doug Dorsey (Sweeney), world-class pro hockey player, learns that a recent injury he sustained from a brutal cross-check would cut short his career, he saw his world fall apart. While he continues to try out, no team will take a chance on him. But one day, he receives a visit from a man with an intriguing offer—the chance to recapture his glory on the ice, trading his stick and gloves for figure skating blades and crotch-hugging spandex. Who can say no to that?
When Doug meets his new partner, the lovely but cold, Kate Moseley (Kelly), the sparks fly, and not in the good sense. Tension immediately blows up, as the two strong personalities—Kate's fierce independence and Doug's brashness—collide. Both skaters are talented and certainly have the chops to get the job done, but from the get-go the question always looms: will these two kill each other before they can even compete?
Kate's father Jack (Terry O'Quinn, Lost) has his doubts and so does the trainer. But as the dynamic duo continue their rigorous practicing, their growing prowess on the ice soon overshadows the incessant bickering. In fact—can it be?—they appear to be getting along!
Well, if you've ever seen a romantic comedy you will likely be able to chart the end of this film, but before Kate and Doug divulge their true feelings to each-other, there will be more emotional peaks and valleys than the sea-floor of the Pacific.
If you've read a sampling of my reviews, or were to browse my dossier, you would probably be shocked to discover that I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies. In fact, I'd rather clean the grout in my bathroom than sit through one of the chick flicks my wife tends to enjoy. There are exceptions, and in those rare occurrences, I am usually embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed said romcom.
The Cutting Edge is one of those exceptions.
I can objectively say it is a good movie, well-acted, sharply written, and throwing in enough curve balls to differentiate itself from its saccharine brethren (or sisterhood). The pace is brisk, the subject matter of figure skating is interesting, and the character juxtaposition provides fertile ground for the actors to run wild. But it is this last aspect, I think, which offers up that final piece, the intangibility factor, the ingredient needed to elevate the film into the cult status it enjoys today. The charm.
Basically, Sweeney and Kelly make this thing work wicked good. The two have an obvious chemistry, even when their two characters are laying into each other with any of the well-scripted barbs at their disposal. The sexual tension between our leads is evident from liftoff, and it only gets better (or tenser). I think the actors' success is rooted in the friendship they formed prior to the shoot, during the extensive training period. As Kelly and Sweeney relate in the accompanying documentary, they had to undergo six months of skating training to come across believably on the ice. During that time, they cultivated a solid friendship. This bleeds into their characterization and the net benefit is the audience's—we care about these two and root for them to get together, no matter how many genre-mandated impasses are put in their way (e.g. intrusion by her father, boinking the redhead rival). Good movie.
Now, about this whole "Gold Medal Edition" thing. While it's another one of those trendy euphemisms for "double dip," this second outing, released in conjunction with the slightly-better-than-mediocre sequel, could just as easily have been labeled the "Half-Assed Edition." The only extra of note is "The Cutting Edge: Reflections from the Ice," a 10-minute retrospective with the film's two stars, who talk about their friendship, the shoot, and the film's enduring legacy. It's not bad. Unfortunately, that's everything worth noting for this disc. The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is unforgivably non-anamorphic, and the only sound mixes are 2.0 stereo.
If you've got the first DVD release already, I don't see enough merit in this regurgitation for another purchase.
I like this movie. I don't like this disc.
"Fool's Gold Medal Edition" is more like it. Court adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
• "The Cutting Edge: Reflections from the Ice"
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