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Film review: Cutting Edge, The

Published: Tuesday, April 7 1992 12:00 a.m. MDT

Innocuous and energetic, but woefully predictable and occasionally silly, "The Cutting Edge" is fairly pleasing entertainment, bolstered by appealing players.

D.B. Sweeney, whom you may have seen in "Memphis Belle" or TV's "Lonesome Dove," plays a cocky country kid who's a whiz on the ice with a hockey stick. But during his Olympic debut he suffers an eye injury, putting an end to his professional hockey aspirations.

Meanwhile, over in the figure-skating arena, rich, spoiled Moira Kelly ("Billy Bathgate"), a feisty but hot-headed and disagreeable talent, spoils her own chances for the gold through her inability to get along with a male partner.

It's obvious from the moment these characters are introduced to us that they will eventually become united as a reluctant figure-skating team, that they will fight incessantly, learn life lessons and, of course, fall in love. But they won't recognize it until the end of the final reel as they, "Rocky"-style, go for the gold together.

Plotting like this is probably outlined on floppy discs so guys like first-time screenwriter Tony Gilroy can slip one into their computer, provide a semi-original backdrop (in this case, Olympic ice skating), drop in some wisecracks and — voila! — another cookie-cutter Hollywood movie.

Director Paul M. Glaser, who used to be Paul Michael Glaser when he was a "Starsky and Hutch" TV star (he also directed the Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller "The Running Man"), doesn't help much with his MTV-influenced style, all glitz, razzmatazz and optical effects (and his main characters are all histrionics), ultimately giving it a cartoon feel. (One more close-up of ice-skating feet in slow motion and I'll scream!)

But through it all, Sweeney and Kelly manage to keep the level of charm surprisingly high, keeping the improbable elements of the film afloat as much as possible.

Even when they are practicing at Kelly's home, which has an ice rink big enough to house a passenger airliner or two, paying little attention to the tutelage of their frustrated Soviet coach, Sweeney and Kelly's sunny personalities shine through.

"The Cutting Edge" is rated PG, primarily for profanity, but there is implied sex and some violence.