The Cutting Edge (1992)

the cutting edge

“If it was forty below and that button meant the difference between a long satisfying life and a cold horrible death from hypothermia, I still wouldn’t give you the satisfaction! Skate!”

Kym’s rating: Four out of four double axels

Kym’s review: This is one of Hollywood’s great love stories.

The Cutting Edge movie chronicles the unlikely relationship that develops between an unlikely pair: an ex-hockey player and an ice-queen figure skater. The best reason to watch this movie though is for the banter that goes on between Kate and Doug. They are constantly throwing one-liners and little barbs at each other and it’s massively entertaining to watch. The skating that goes on in this movie (and quite a bit of it is actually done by Kelly and Sweeney) is an absolute treat to watch. The skating that happens in the finale is outstanding.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did.

Justin’s rating: Toe pick, icepick, toothpick. Take your pick.

Justin’s review: The Cutting Edge is one of the oldest favorites at Mutant Reviewers, and for a good reason. It’s that rare breed of romantic comedy that not only appeals to both guys and girls equally, but also pleases the soul with humorous quips galore. Even if you’re one of those stoic “I don’t need love because I have my video games/cats” individuals, you might do well to swallow that pride and pop in this flick.

HE is Doug (D.B. Sweeney), a pro hockey player who suffers an eye injury in the 1988 Olympics that cuts his career short. SHE is Kate (Moira Kelly), a figure skater whose cold, arrogant heart keeps all prospective partners away. THAT GUY is Anton (Roy Dotrice), a coach who casts about for a unique solution: to train Doug in all things figure skatey — and make Kate like it. She doesn’t, at least not at first, and they butt heads like two cantankerous mountain goats fighting over the last patch of exposed grass.

The Cutting Edge works almost entirely on the chemistry between Sweeney and Kelly. It’s because it’s always far more enjoyable watching your romantic leads not like each other initially, instead of being sweethearts from the first minute on. Kate and Doug all but hate each other, their worlds and attitudes wholly incompatible, and their chances of pulling off anything other than murder slim. So, of course they’re going to make it to the shiny gates of kissing delight sooner or later. We just get to enjoy the journey.

Each gender gets its own hero/villain to root for, and The Cutting Edge isn’t biased toward one or the other, like so many romantic movies I could name. Here, both Kate and Doug give as good as they get, and the end result is iron sharpening iron. With lip smooching.

Guys, trust me, this movie is the Ace in your pocket. The next time it’s “her” night to pick a film, casually guide her toward this film, pick it up, and say something like, “Fine. I guess you’re going to torture me with FIGURE SKATING and MUSHY STUFF. Well here you go! My woe is complete!” And she’ll pick it up with an evil grin, figuring she has you over the coals, and you can relax, knowing that you’re actually in for a good time and some smooches of your own, later.

Andie’s rating: 4 skates out of 4

Andie’s review: I know, I know, the underdog-sports and opposites-attract routines have been done over and over again. But with The Cutting Edge, it is done is the freshest, funniest way I’ve seen in years. The premise is figure skating spoiled brat ice-princess Kate Mosley desperately needs a partner, after going through eight in two years. Ex-hockey player Doug Dorsey can’t play because of an eye injury.

They can’t stand each other. Put ’em in a rink, give ’em sharp weapons on their feet and *presto* you have one of the best romantic comedies I’ve ever seen.

The live action sequences are outstanding, skating fan or not, but it is the witty, sarcastic exchanges between Kate and Doug that makes the whole movie worth it. These two have real chemistry together. Other stand out performances include the Kate’s stuffy fiancee, Hale (what kind of a name is Hale?), and the rival skates, Brian & Lori and the Wiederman twins, complete with matching Liederhosen.

Definitely recommended for any fans of romantic comedies or sports.

PoolMan’s rating: Extra high on the “Stuff You Can Watch With Your Girl That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep”-O-Meter

PoolMan’s review: I can’t believe I’ve been writing for this site for years and I’ve somehow forgotten to include one of my most favourite date movies! I’d always just assumed that, looking through the reviews archive, I’d already written up my take on The Cutting Edge and that right then, at that very moment, somewhere in the Bronx there was a guy in his early 20’s laughing his head off at my stylish writing wit. Turns out I never even bothered to submit anything. Bad Sean, bad!

Sadly, I doubt I’ll be able to top Kyle’s excellently visceral review. But when you can’t go bloody, go straightforward. This is the kind of movie you wish they’d devote a section to at your local video store. You could browse through the racks and see Action, Comedy, Drama, Male-Safe Romance, Martial Arts… Sure, every boyfriend/girlfriend or man/wife pair in the world can go into a video store together and come out with a movie that they’ve “agreed upon”, but 99% of the time, you know darned well the person who picked the movie has ovaries. Or so I hear, anyways…. cough, cough.

Anyways, I’m off to beg forgiveness from my girlfriend. While I’m doing that, all you men go to video store, confidently pick up The Cutting Edge, and proclaim to your significant other (in as loud a voice as possible) “Let’s get this one, honey! It’s got romance and figure skating! I love you!”

You’ll thank me on your wedding night. Just phone me AFTER you’re done…


Kyle’s rating: When your relationship is in doubt, bust this movie out and celebrate the love!

Kyle’s review: I stand by the two-paragraph review I originally sent in to Mutant Reviewers years ago; I’m thinking it must have been one of my earliest reviews because once I entered the new millennium I didn’t send in any review shorter than four lengthy paragraphs. Oh, yeah: that’s how you win a critical debate on a movie!

My opinions on The Cutting Edge popped up into my consciousness when I saw that they had made a cable film sequel, with (I believe) none of the original cast and instead dealing with the ice-skating daughter of the first film’s Olympic couple. I thought about watching the sequel but instead just flipped it on randomly and paid half-hearted attention to it. It really wasn’t that great, as far as I could tell. The heroine was played by a girl I remember liking from occasionally catching Even Stevens episodes, and there was a hot blonde in the movie. But it still was crap.

Here’s why: the original Cutting Edge had an edge to it. Unless every copy I ever saw of it was somehow damaged, I remember it had a weird kind of documentary look in the cinematography, as well as a lot of occasional slow-mo montages. Somehow very distinctive, whatever it was they did, and when you throw in the believable and quite combustible chemistry between Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney, it resulted in a romantic comedy that is a serious dark horse candidate for favorite film among couples.

Seriously! You can argue for Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally or some new crappy movie among young teenage couple (maybe Down With Love?), but The Cutting Edge has the goods that appeals to couples in every stage of the relationship cycle, from burgeoning to loving to mutually hateful to disastrous. Will power and stubbornness and comedic violence and meddling parents to lots of literal and metaphorical ice, to a chance at Olympic gold. Wide appeal for everyone! Everyone, I say!

Don’t even try to see the sequel. It looked pretty lame, and I think they do that thing where the heroine’s love interest is some doofy good-looking dude who loves the heroine even while having a dedicated girlfriend, and the actors aren’t charming and attractive enough to make a swinger situation really ring true and work.

The original, though, just sticks to the crazy chemistry between our two leads, and it’s awesome. Pretty timeless, too, and let me tell that even though they’ve heard it before, if you meet a girl who is an ice skater (they’re around more than you’d suspect) and talk up The Cutting Edge, things will go well for you. With or without a hockey background on your part. Just go for it!


Sue’s rating: I skate, you skate, we all skate for… oh wait. That’s ice cream, isn’t it?

Sue’s review: Although my budding figure skating career was aborted in the mid-1970’s — oddly enough on the same day that my Dad broke his ankle and had to be ignominiously carted off the ice — I’m sure I could have been one of the greats. Okay, never mind that I like spangled, sequined costumes about as much as I like liver and onions. (I’d rather eat the costume.) Forget that I ended up riding horses because I discovered that I’m a lot less klutzy with four feet on the ground rather than the standard two. Let’s not even go into my unintentional kamikaze style on roller skates. I coulda been a contender! I know I could!

Because of my sadly unrealized potential, and because I think that certain figure skaters are… well… hot, *coughkurtbrowningcoughcough* I’ve always liked to watch skating competitions and ice shows. Combine that with my predilection for Richard Gere/Julia Roberts type movies and you would undoubtedly think that The Cutting Edge would be right up my alley. You’d be right… but you’d also be wrong. Allow me to explain.

The rightness is derived not from my love of studs on ice, (and off) but rather my admiration for clever and quick witted verbal sparring. Our, shall we say, antagonistic protagonists Doug and Kate might very well be decent skaters, but that ability comes nowhere near their awesome talent for swapping killer insults with brevity and a presentation to die for. Even a benign, “toe pick” takes on unparalleled malevolence when uttered by one or the other of the duelists. “Toe pick.” Say it with a sneer and you could castrate a bull moose in two syllables. That’s power!

The wrongness, however, is two-fold. First of all, while I appreciate the back-story of Kate being pressured into a skating career by a father who is trying to make his late wife’s own ambitions come to fruition in the next generation, it comes across sort of clunkily. Okay, clunkily isn’t a word, but you get my drift.

Secondly we have the problem of the skating. Sure, I know that they had to do a ton of cutting and editing when replacing D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly with professional skaters throughout their performances, but this means that the skating programs — what little we actually see of them — are pretty lame; especially to those of us who know a camel spin from a death spiral. Also, call it creative license I guess, but neither the U.S. Nationals nor the Olympics dim the lights and use spotlights during competitions. Quite the opposite, in fact. Some might find the lighting dramatic. I found it distracting and sort of unnecessary.

Finally, we have this super-special, yet physically impossible and totally illegal “Pamchenko” element. Uhm… why? In real life, they would have been eliminated from the competition and — not to be coarse — but they’d also have been picking Kate up from the ice with a mop and a five gallon pail. The word, “splashy” comes to mind. There are plenty of other daring feats and innovations to pairs skating. It wasn’t necessary to make up something that defies all possibility.

Maybe I’m too fussy. Heck, I like The Cutting Edge! It’s part of my small, yet beloved, video collection. I just thought it was a decent enough story without fudging the facts. After all, the strength of any work of fiction is the apparent authenticity of the background. Oh well. Curling anyone?


  • Moira Kelly injured her ankle during shooting, so to make it easier for her between scenes, she was moved around on a porter’s truck (the sort of thing usually used to move boxes, etc.).
  • It never seems to dawn on ANYONE that women’s singles skating competition would be perfect for a spoiled brat who goes through like 18 partners a year!
  • Director Paul Michael Glaser is one of the tailors in the costume design scene.
  • As an example of how figure skating judges (and competitors) view illegal movements, during the Nagano Olympics of 1998, French skater Surya Bonaly defiantly threw in a back-flip after a fall had almost certainly put her out of medal contention. The judges drop-kicked her straight into 10th place.

Groovy Quotes

Kate: What do you shower once a week?
Doug: Is that an invitation?

Kate: I swear, you let me down and it’ll take them a month to count the blade marks on your back.

Doug: You want me to put my hands *where*?

Kate: Hale at the moment is working in my father’s London office, he’s an MBA – Harvard. You may have heard of it. They do have a hockey team.
Doug: He must be very smart. I bet you look pretty good from a few thousand miles away.

Doug: Well, actually it’s kind of interesting. I’ve been, I’ve been doin’ a little figure skating.
Old man in back of bar: Finger painting?

Hale: I don’t like to see her upset.
Doug: If I was you, I’d invest in blindfolds.

Doug: If it was forty below and that button meant the difference between a long satisfying life and a cold horrible death from hypothermia, I still wouldn’t give you the satisfaction! Skate!

Kate: If you’re so bored, why don’t you read?
Doug: You mean like a book?
Kate: That is the generally accepted format, yes. What was the last book you read? You were in college?
Doug: The last thing I read in college was a letter canceling my scholarship when I couldn’t play anymore.
Kate: Okay, high school.
Doug: I was a hockey player. The only thing I had to read was a scoreboard.
Kate: And they graduated you?
Doug: They revered me. I was a god.
Kate: What a tragic commentary on our times.

Doug: Hey, there’s only two things I do well, sweetheart, and skating’s the other one!

Doug: [opens his present, a book] Great Expectations.
Kate: Well, it was either that or “Curious George Plays Hockey”. I took a chance.

Kate: Toe pick!

Kate: You… you cretin!

Doug: I’ve been meaning to tell you – that book you gave me? It’s pretty good.
Kate: Really? Using it as a doorstop, or a coaster?

Doug’s Brother: Are they gonna make you shave your legs?

Doug: This is my fault? From the first day I walked into your rink, you’ve been treating me like a hired hand! Then one night, you get drunk, and I’m supposed to roll over and thank my lucky stars? Sorry, I don’t downshift that fast!

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • With Honors
  • The Cutting Edge 2: Going For The Gold
  • When Harry Met Sally


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