Year of Revisiting #6 – The Cutting Edge
“What’s the difference between figure skating and hockey?” “Women”
I hadn’t seen 1992’s The Cutting Edge since maybe 1993. In 2016, it 100% holds up. The Cutting Edge is another entry in The Taming of the Shrew catalog, with an opposites-attract love story between tough ex-hockey player Doug (D.B. Sweeney at his most ~dreamy~) and princessy figure skater Kate (Moira Kelly), who team up to go for the gold in couples figure skating when both have run out of options: he has permanent peripheral vision damage suffered during an eye injury in the last Olympics, and she has driven off a bunch of previous partners with her demanding drive for perfection, known in women as bitchiness.
Setting aside the question of why his shallow vision is a problem in hockey and not figure skating—might it not actually be the other way around?—I was most delighted on this rewatch by how little is made of a hockey player becoming a figure skater. The movie is refreshingly not one joke after another about how hockey is tough, figure skating is sissyish, and Doug is now a pussy and/or gay. If there are any concerns about how Doug’s masculinity is now under threat, I missed them. In one scene Doug is a little reluctant to tell his brother, another hardscrabble Minnesotan, but the viewer is spared the fallout of that conversation. The next time we see the brother, he’s cheering rinkside for couples figure skating.
Both Doug and Kate train hard, and if there were ever a question of parity in drive and ability, it is answered by the extended 90s exercise montage showing both sweating away equally. But the most pleasing moment comes when the U.S. Olympic figure skating group is doing press before their competition. One of the reporters asks Doug, “What’s the difference between this and hockey?” “Women,” he jokes, and everyone laughs. Yet I couldn’t help but discern a little *wink wink* from this film, as if to say, This is not really a joke but the literal truth.