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Semi Pro = Complete Disaster

2/29/08

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Let me preface this review by saying how much I really do enjoy Will Ferrell movies.

Anchorman? One of the flat out, funniest movies I have ever seen.

Umm….

Ok, well I really do love Will Ferrell.

He was always great on Saturday Night Live.

His earlier roles in Night in the Roxbury, and Zoolander were brilliant.

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Even his smaller roles in films like Austin Powers, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Wedding Crashers were great.

Frank the Tank in Old School was one of his best roles.

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However as he made the shift from supporting character to leading man, with the exception of Anchorman, his movies have all felt redundantly familiar (if thats even a term).

Talladega Night’s was marginally decent at best.

Kicking and Screaming had me doing exactly that.

Blades of Glory had me reaching for one.

And now he’s released Semi Pro, a comedy about the now extinct ABA, or as Ferrell referred to it in an interview as the NBA’s ugly stepbrother.

Back in the day, the league was actually full of fun, as the ABA had the three point line and the multi colored ball.

It had stars like Dr. J (Julius Erving) who were more than worth the price of admission.

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So pairing up a comedic talent like Ferrell with the fall of the ABA had plenty of potential for anybody who was either a fan of Will Ferrell, sports or both (like yours truly).

Despite the right parts in place for a pretty good movie, Semi Pro was hardly a slam dunk, and much closer to an air ball.

Will Ferrell stars as Jackie Moon, the player/coach/owner of the Flint Michigan Tropics, one of the ABA teams fighting for a place in the NBA following the upcoming merger between the two leagues. The Tropics are a joke, with little talent and fewer fans. The only working part of the car wreck that is the Tropics is Clarence ‘Coffee’ Black (played by Andre Benjamin of Outkast). Upon learning that only the top 4 teams will be merged into the NBA, Jackie acquires former NBA player Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson) in exchange for the teams washing machine.

The Tropics must work their way from the cellar of the league standings into fourth place to qualify for a place among the NBA, and along way must also come up with ways to raise struggling attendance numbers. This is where the movie gets utterly ridiculous, as a lot of the material they expect you to find funny seems forced on you, and a lot of the subtleties and quirky phrases which made Anchorman so lovable are lacking.

Maura Tierny (Liar Liar, ER) plays the romantic interest of Woody Harrelson’s character, and I can’t really understand A) what she was thinking signing up for this movie and B) why her character really needed to be part of the movie. Some of the other supporting roles were played by Will Arnet (SNL, Blades of Glory), Andy Richter (Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Talladega Nights) and Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, The Winner). The only Anchorman alumni was David Koechner (Champ), who plays the Commissioner of the ABA.

The movie felt like it was thrown together at the last second (a point made by my roommate Matt which I have to agree with) and the funniest jokes were nothing more than the blunt use of profanity. The story was more or less predictable and for a movie based on basketball it didn’t seem like there a lot of it actually played.

In the end, Semi Pro was a huge letdown, although this is more or less what the audience should expect from Will Ferrell’s comedies. They all follow the same basic formula, which has been very disappointing ever since his breakout performance in Anchorman.

The only redeeming qualities of this movie were that fact that it was short and at least for me, I saw it early enough in the day to save myself 3 dollars with a matinée ticket.

If you are debating whether or not its worth spending the 10.50 on seeing Semi Pro, do yourself a favor and fill your Will Ferrell craving by spending the night with Ron Burgundy and renting Anchorman.

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Final Verdict?

D+ for incredibly Disappointing.

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March 1, 2008 - Posted by | Movies

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