ON EDGE Image

ON EDGE

By Michael Dequina | November 27, 2001

This mock documentary centers on the world of women’s figure skating, and if that sounds like “Drop Dead Gorgeous on ice,” you would be right–all too painfully so. The major scene is a regional skating tournament where a documentary filmmaker (Chris Hogan) focuses on the dreams of three Olympic hopefuls: bitchy, bulimic champion Veda Tilman (Barret Switek); zaftig Wendy Wodinski (Marissa Winokur); and trailer park bad girl J.C. Cain (A.J. Langer), who is mentored by zamboni driver Phil (Jason Alexander). Those simple descriptions are as deep as the characterizations get, from the leads on down to the background players, which include identical twin skaters who do identical routines in identical costumes; another who constantly falls down and bumps into walls; and a Madonna-worshipping skater who nearly strangles herself with her many neck chains during a spin move.
That last bit happens to be one of the better jokes in the film, which just points up the real crippling shallowness in the script by Laura Wolf and director Karl Slovin’s script: in the laughs department. In fact, to make the comparison with Drop Dead Gorgeous is to slight the few points of merit in that mediocre film; at least that film had some spirited performances to somewhat smooth over the many rough spots. The liveliest turns in “On Edge” are given by two people who are barely featured: Kathy Griffin as an especially long-in-the-tooth competitor and Wendie Malick as Veda’s domineering ex-skater stage mother. Other familiar faces turn up, most notably a number of real-life skating champions and Olympians, but they add nothing to proceedings–case in point, a hammy and heavily made-up Scott Hamilton, who is not nearly as hilarious as he apparently thinks he is as a testy skating judge. One non-skater cameo actually does more harm than good: that by Michæl McKean, whose fleeting presence just brings to mind mockumentaries far more smart and entertaining than “On Edge” could ever hope to be.

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