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8/21/08

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Will Ferrel seems content in continuing to make the same film over and over until the well runs dry. We as an audience continue to lap up what he’s serving, so he’s able to continue to do so, not forcing him to move on to something greater. But I must admit that his films remain funny, he’s such an offbeat, lovable character that his shtick has yet to grow old. Although I’m not sure how many more trips to the well I can take.

In Semi-Pro, Ferrel plays owner/coach/player Jackie Moon of the fictional ABA team Detroit Tropics. It’s the late 70’s, Moon made his money with a disco one-hit-wonder called "Love Me Sexy", but his bank account is quickly dwindling and the basketball league is dying. The era lets Ferrel and gang dress up in over-the-top costumes, ridiculous even by disco standards. Ferrel gets to rock his trademark white-man’s-fro and as usual he’s obliged to take off his shirt to show off his flabby physique and strange orange, lint-ball chest hair. Woody Harrelson shows off his comic chops as the aging veteran Ed Monix, going through his last hurrah. Will Arnett, does his usual funny routine as the hard-living team announcer, and gets some great one-liners off during the games. Andre Benjamin, doesn’t really get any funny lines as the hot-shot youngster, but he holds his own with some of the best comedians of the day.

I don’t need to spell out the storyline, it’s easy enough to make it out from the trailer. It doesn’t go anywhere fresh or exciting; it’s a fairly typical sports-comedy archtype, simply a foundation for the comedians to riff off of. Perhaps the most interesting development of the film, is that Jackie Moon doesn’t have a love interest, at least female wise, his love is his team. It's not often that the lead character of a comedy, isn't chasing a woman. Harrelson’s character gets the love story, and it’s a twisted one at that.


Perhaps what surprised me the most was the filmmaking, I found it to be far better made than Ferrel’s last few vehicles. There's some actual attention to detail, this isn't the typical, bare minimum, flat-lighting, point a camera in the stars direction, comedy. The film is really nicely shot in widescreen, with some true attention to detail. The costumes and sets are believably 70’s, it doesn’t feel like a bunch of guys playing dress-up, it actually places you into the era. Most importantly I thought it was genuinely funny, I laughed out loud much more during this film, than either Talladega Nights or Blades of Glory. It doesn't feel quite as re-watchable as the minor-classic Anchorman, but it's a close second. Grade: B (Seen on 6/25/08)

The opening scene of Semi-Pro:


1 Response to Semi-Pro:

  1. What I enjoyed about Semi-Pro was the ambition in Jackie Moon's character. It was charming and more human than some of Ferrell's caricatures in, say, Talladega Nights.

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