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Review: Semi-Pro

Semi-Pro
02.29.2008
7 10

PLOT: Poor Jackie Moon… no matter how hard this one time pop singing sensation tries, he can’t make a hit out of his basketball team, The Flint Tropics. And when rumor of a merger surfaces that would wipe out most of the ABA teams, leaving only a handful being selected for the NBA, Jackie comes up with a plan. With the help of a local “celebrity” player named Monix which Moon traded a washing machine for, he attempts to bring the fans back to see the Tropics play their most memorable year ever. Will it help get them into the NBA? Or will the bear Jackie attempts to take on attack again, leaving many poor victims in its deadly path? Never wrestle a bear my friend. And make sure you listen for that catchy hit single… “Love Me Sexy”.

REVIEW: Will Ferrell is back with yet another sports comedy. This time, he is Jackie Moon, a one hit wonder who bought an ABA team called the Flint Tropics. So not only did Mr. Moon bring the world the smooth hit “Love Me Sexy” (one of the best moments in the film comes early folks), he also brings a sort of show-biz feel to the game of basketball. It’s just too bad not a whole lot of people care about the Flint Tropics. Each night, Jackie makes some sort of attempt to bring fans in. It’s not enough that he is the owner, the coach and one of the “star” players, he has to work as promotions guy too. Whether it’s corn dog night or “see Jackie wrestle a bear” night, he makes a valid attempt. But due to low ticket sales, none of it can make up for the fact that the ABA will soon become a part of the NBA, leaving most of the semi pro teams a long lost memory. Mr. Moon is desperate to keep his team alive and begs the powers that be to let the Tropics try and win a place with the top teams who will move up after the merger.

Now this could have been a pretty damn compelling drama, but thankfully, Will stuck with the funny. And is it funny? You bet. While not his best film, and not as laugh out loud hilarious as it could have been, it is still chuckle inducing. Will is surrounded by some game performances including Andre Benjamin as Clarence and Josh Braaten as Twiggy Munson. I also really enjoyed seeing Woody Harrelson as Monix. He plays one of the only ABA players to actually be a part of a winning team for the NBA. Hell, they even traded in a washing machine for this guy, so you know he is good. Woody is the anchor here to all of the ridiculousness that Coach Moon puts his team through, he is basically the straight man. It was great to see him in that type of role as opposed to the quirky and bizarre characters he often plays.

There are several other funny performances here including the always great Will Arnett. Both Andrew Daly and him as team commentators Dick Pepperfield and Lou Redwood are incredibly funny, stealing many a scene from Will and his teammates. I loved the bit about having a smoke and a drink during the game. Someone needs to make a movie about these two characters, I’d see it. In fact, there are a ton of funny folk that appear throughout including David Koechner, Kristen Wiig and an hysterical turn by Jackie Earle Haley. I know people exactly like this guy… good work Jackie.

As I mentioned, Semi-Pro is a whole lot of fun but it is not necessarily the next TALLADEGA NIGHTS. There is a bunch to love including the whole bear wrestling bit. But there are moments within that seem like they would have been better suited for that drama about the same subject. The love story angle with Monix and his ex-girlfriend Lynn (Maura Tierney) didn’t seem all that necessary. Yet I dug the other man who kept hoping his girl would make it with the basketball star… homoerotic subtext maybe? I also felt that this tried hard to be something along the lines of BULL DURHAM but it came across more like MAJOR LEAGUE, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

This is basically a pretty funny Will Ferrell movie. So director Kent Alterman went with it and did well enough with the material. I appreciate the lengths they went to by making it a seemingly detailed look at the disco generation in the costumes and just that whole Seventies vibe. It is a groovy ride down memory lane. It all made for a fun movie that is not terribly deep, but it is not as funny as it could have been. While it is better than the recent spoof flicks to come out such as MEET THE SPARTANS, it falls short of a few of the indie comedies, and of course that Apatow dude. But still, if you are a big fan of Ferrell, this is one that you won’t want to miss. And Will… keep the afro, it’s a good look for ya. My rating 7/10 -- JimmyO

Source: JoBlo.com

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