A Look Back: The Cutting Edge

I first saw “The Cutting Edge” (released in 1992) on a plane flight, and it struck me as being as absorbing as your average made-for-TV/sports movie/triumph of the human spirit flick – which of course, made it perfect to watch on a plane in the pre-Internet era. If you had told me then, however, that it would spawn two TV movie sequels, I would have laughed. But this really did happen.

In the movie, Moira Kelly plays an ice queen/championship figure skater who is smarting (literally and otherwise) from a mishap in the last Olympic games. She can do just about anything on the ice, but off the ice is an entirely different story – as she appears to have PMS 24-7 and can’t carry on an even remotely civil conversation with any guy foolish enough to try and be her partner. However, after all other possibilities have been passed on, her coach does come up with D.B. Sweeney, an ice hockey player who was also injured in his last competition and decides (despite the scorn of his father) that figure skating can’t be a too strenuous alternative. (Boy, is he naïve!) Soon the two are trading barbs, as they struggle to mesh into a competition-worthy pair.

To D.B.’s astonishment (and the viewer’s), Moira’s character already has a boyfriend who is, in movie tradition, a douche, and of course, part of the “suspense” in the movie comes from seeing how long it takes Moira to figure this out herself – and also realize that the perfect guy is right in front of her. Both characters have parental issues, but the real drama comes from their coach deciding to teach them an illegal skating move – because after you’ve humiliated yourself in a world-wide competition, it’s always smart to go with something that can get you disqualified.  (In “Blades of Glory,” Will Ferrell and Jon Heder perform a skating move that, if done wrongly, could wind up decapitating their partner, and we get to see a closeup of Will’s facial stubble getting shaved off.)   Of course, there are the token protests, and several misunderstandings that keep Moira and D.B. from truly realizing that they are perfect for each other, but those fade away in the end, as the two triumph – on the ice and off.  Of course, D.B.’s character does point out that it might not be that he and Moira are perfect for each other, they’re just not going to satisfy anyone else, which is a rare bit of wisdom in such a clichéd movie, so I’m going to give the screenwriters points for honesty.

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