“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times,
‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable
to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a
brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you
insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council;
and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you
remember that your brother or sisteri has something against
you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be
reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and
offer your gift.
Although we are not likely to find either Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) or Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) in a temple or church, they would do well to heed Jesus’ words. Rival stars in the world of men’s figure skating, they are banned for life from the sport when their jealous hatred for each other leads to a knock-down fight just as they are being crowned as co-winners at the World Championship. The ruling committee strips them of their gold medals and kicks them out of the sport.
Three and a half years later Chazz is making a meager living as the Evil Wizard in a children’s skating drama, while Jimmy is fitting skates onto the feet of spoiled brats at a chain sporting store. Then the stalker who had long been obsessed with Jimmy tells him about a loophole in the skating rules—that he could get back into competition if he could find a male partner equally as talented as he and enter the couples figure skating events. Enter Craig T. Nelson, playing former coach, who barely manages to convince Chazz to join with Jimmy.
The two are polar opposites, Chazz being an arrogant macho, hard drinker who attacks skating routines as a power event. Jimmy, on the other hand, had been adopted out of an orphanage by a billionaire who, seeing Olympic glory in the child skater, had subjected the boy to endless hours of rigorous practice in which he developed a balletic style. How the two grin and bear it as they prepare for their debut that will shock the skating world is fun to watch. Their coming to respect and then to even like each other is even better. Not a great film, but one that is a cut above most other screen comedies now playing.
1) Although a comedy with the usual exaggerations of the genre, what do you think of the film’s handling of the theme of learning to cooperate with one you do not like? Have you had such an experience with someone at work, school, or church?
2) How is the commandment to love one’s enemy a difficult one? How does the observation made by commentators that Jesus calls us to love, not to like an enemy? What do you see is the difference? How does loving often, as in this film, lead to liking?
3) Although satirical and played for laughs, what does the scene at the meeting of Sex Addicts Anonymous show about Chazz and our need for companions to help us deal with our problems? Some have referred to the church as Sinners Anonymous: how is this an appropriate view of the church?