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One of the joys of being a university student is getting invited to
free sneak previews. I went to one last night, where the front half of
the theater was packed with students while the back was filled with
members of the writing team, taking careful notes on which jokes we did
and did not laugh at. For the most part, the reaction was positive, and
the jokes that failed miserably will probably get edited out by the
time the movie officially opens.
The movie was pretty sports-comedy formulaic, with the down-and-out lovable losers getting a big chance, then introducing a new character who will inspire them, and a few montages later, the big finale. The R-rating was used mainly on adding in lots of cuss-words, with mixed humorous results. There was a really funny joke about masturbation. I was hoping for a little more basketball craziness, but oh well.
The highlight, of course, was Will Ferrel meeting the 70s. I myself was not alive in the 70s, so I only know about the culture through the disco-funk lens of caricature cinema. Ferrel is one funky mofo so he thrives. I would say this was one of his better efforts, topping Taladega nights, Elf, and the ice skating one. It's not as good as Anchorman, mainly because it's just not as quotable.
In short, if you like Will Ferrel, or 70s funk (the soundtrack is hella dope), see this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to this movie with low expectations - I think that helped.
I love Will Ferrell - his deadpan moments, his crazy moments, his flat shouting - so will see pretty much anything he does.
Unlike Anchorman, this movie suffers from lack of inspiration. The film itself is pretty much several short films / skits held together by the premise of an ABA (semi-pro) team's hope to join the NBA.
Some of Ferrell's regular cohorts rejoin him - Will Arnett (Blades of Glory), Andy Richter (Elf), David Koechner (a standout in Anchorman) - and all do good jobs, but no one really shines.
The best part of this movie? Andre Benjamin. As an Atlanta girl, I grew up loving Outkast. He proved his acting prowess in Four Brothers, and he flexes his comedic muscles as the team's star, Coffee Black, and steals every scene he's in. With his giant afro and '70's funk, he is the most convincing and likable character in the movie. (With the possible exception of Dewey the bear.) I'll still see any movie that Will Ferrell does, but now I'll also see any of Andre Benjamin's.
If you like Ferrell or just want a pleasant diversion (it is rated R for lots of language), Semi-Pro is worth a look. But be forewarned: this is far more Blades of Glory mediocrity than Anchorman delectable satire.
Semi-pro will not go down in the anals of great comedies.
If you are looking for a plot synopsis, well this movie is not for you. It's pretty short on story and pretty high on funny bits.
The one thing I will say is that the film is not overpowered by Will Ferrell silliness. Oh don't mistake me there is some silliness but it is only part of a greater picture.
It has 4-5 hilarious scenes and many lines that will be quotable for a long time. I left the theatre laughing and repeating line with my friends. And really what more are you asking for in a Will Ferrell Comedy???
This movie hinges on one simple fact: do you or do you not just enjoy
If the answer to that is yes, then you will enjoy this a lot. Because there's not much new doing here: it's Ferell as another idiotic, self-loving, loud and beef-headed, dim-witted professional...insert obscure profession or athlete. This is just "Anchorman", "Ricky Bobby", "Blades of Glory", or what have you, except in basketball. If you enjoy those movies, and Will Ferrel's shameless antics (I'm not saying they're bad, I'm just saying I want to see him try something else now and then) then here's one for you.
But I also give kudos to the supporting players (like Woody Harrelson, who in a stroke of brilliance, is acting like he's in a real drama and not a spoof), the inspired 70's soundtracks and references. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Will Ferrell returns (like he ever left) with another slapstick comedy.
. . 'Semi-Pro,' the story of an ABA basketball team, the Flint Tropics,
fighting to be accepted into the NBA.
The cast is fantastic. . . Woody Harrelson plays the newly traded point guard Monix, André Benjamin of Outkast plays the star of the team Clarence 'Coffee' Black, and Will Ferrell plays the coach, owner, promoter, power forward, and choreographer Jackie Moon. Also making an appearance are Maura Tierney (ER) as the former love interest of Monix; Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as the colour commentator; Andy Richter (Late Night with Conan O'Brien) as. . . Jackie's son-friend; Ed Helms (The Office) as Turtleneck; and David Koechner (Anchorman) as the Commissioner.
The film itself, however. . . well, there are some problems. Many scenes (including one about vomit, one with a burnt out hippie winning $10,000, etc.) seem unnecessary and out of place seeing as most of them have almost no 'bear'ing (you'll get it later) on the plot whatsoever.
Also, while I have nothing against swearing and am completely against censourship. . . the 'foul language' in this film just seems forced and only added to give itself an R rating. Other than a brief (and non-nude) sex scene, there's nothing else at all that would've warranted its R rating. Maybe it was a marketing move (thinking an R would get them more in the box office after all the hate for PG-13 ), or maybe it's just annoying writing by Scot Armstrong whose only PG-13 films (School for Scoundrels and Starsky and Hutch) are pretty awful. Either way, it didn't seem worth it.
Anyway, the film itself is entertaining, but unoriginal. There's nothing really special about it, but it's still a funny comedy worth checking out if that's what you're in the mood for.
Final Verdict: 6/10.
Postscript: No. . . as some people are saying about this. . . the 'alley oop' bit at the end. . . it's not true.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Semi Pro is half good. It starts off great. We are introduced with
Jackie Moon's big hit "Love Me Sexy" and learn that his team, The Flint
Tropics team isn't that good and Moon spent his money for the team
really for his love of basketball.
The first half is great, as it applies a usual Will Ferrel formula - have a very basic plot to allow Will Ferrel and co to display their antics with really little attention to the plot. We go to see Ferrel display his antics after all. The best display of this is when Jackie Moon and some of his friends are playing a poker game. It has some of the fun ad libbed dialogue Ferrel's movies are known for and is one of those scenes you know will have outtakes on the DVD.
The film's failure is it's plot. In a Will Ferrel movie, Ferrel should be the center of attention, yet as the plot moves forward, that honor seems to pass to Woody Harrleson, who's good in his role, but doesn't supply the necessary humor the film needs. Meanwhile, Ferrel is left with little to do except for some of the wacky bits like Ferrel wrestling a bear.
So as the film progresses, there is a feeling of the usual basketball film, where the rag tag team tries their best to be successful. In all this, the humor seems to be dissipating, and the Ferrel machine seems to be running out of gas. Really a shame, because the promotional materials for this movie were hilarious.
Semi-Pro takes place in the 1970s and is all about a small time
basketball team named the Flint Michigan Tropics. The head coach,
owner, and promoter is Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) and he and his team
dream of expanding to be part of the big time NBA. However Jackie is
told that in order to actually have a chance at getting into the NBA,
the Tropics have to get at least 2000 fans in their stadium by
deadlines. The problem is that the Tropics do a little more dancing,
fighting, and flailing around the court than actually playing the game.
So Jackie hires a new team player named Monix (Woody Harrelson) who
actually used to play for the NBA. From there on in it's up to Jackie,
Monix, and the whole team to fire up some wild and crazy events for the
crowd and actually learn to play the sport properly for once in order
to reach their dreams.
Will Ferrell has made a bunch of funny movies already. Whether it be Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, and Old School. I haven't seen all of them but I heard they were all funny, mostly because of Will Ferrell's comedic brilliance. Semi-Pro is a funny film but it's really only semi-funny, whereas the rest of Ferrell's movies were hilarious romps. Semi-Pro seems undercooked in the hilarious gag department offering a few very funny moments, but the rest of the movie only has little jokes that usually only offer giggles. My favorite moment in Semi-Pro is when Jackie Moon gets called on a foul by the ref (Also the church priest), and Jackie yells in his face an obscenity and "I'll kill your family!" Another scene that will end up a Will Ferrell classic is when he wrestles a bear, and it ends up attacking him and then getting loose in the stadium.
The music in Semi-Pro is awesome with its funky 70s soundtrack. There's also a song played through the movie sung by Jackie Moon called "Love Me Sexy", and it is as funny a song as Will Ferrell can bring. The rest of the cast includes Outkast's talented Andre Benjamin, Maura Tierney, and Will Arnett and Andrew Daly as two hilarious TV show hosts and broadcasters for the Tropics. Woody Harrelson does a fine job in Semi-Pro but he's never funny, all because the script makes his character Monix serious instead of funny. Maura Tierney really just sits around without much to really do, and even Andre Benjamin's character is made too serious to give us any laughs. I just don't understand why so many of the characters in Semi-Pro were so serious. This is a Will Ferrell comedy, everyone should have some funny moments. This problem is what makes Semi-Pro a mixed bag because only half the movie is really very funny, the rest of the movie is pulled down by far too much seriousness.
Will Ferrell and the musical soundtrack are what elevate Semi-Pro to the point where I can recommend it. Will Ferrell is still a very funny guy and I'm sure he has a lot more hilarious comedies on the way in the mere future. But Semi-Pro pretty much gives Ferrell all the funny moments, when his other movies like Anchorman gave the other characters classic moments as well. I give Semi-Pro a 2.5 out of 4, and a recommendation. It has its moments but is dragged down by far too many unfunny characters.
I really can't stand the site of Will Farrell, and I usually find him
anything but funny. I hated Ron Burgundy and thought Elf was trite, but
i have to say I pretty much laughed my way throughout this entire
It was made as a comedy, which it excels at being, but it is also a really good period piece on the 70's (love the fro's). The story was also really good, a bit predictable but well done - I found myself caring about the characters and the out come of the story.
I was entertained throughout this entire movie, and i would add this movie amongst other American comedy classics such as Family Vacation, Uncle Buck or even Planes, Trains and Automobiles... all very different movies, but ones that made us laugh and kept us smiling.
I never for a moment believed that this movie would be earth-shattering
or mind-blowing. I expected it to be along the lines of "Talladega
Nights" or "Kicking & Screaming," and it was. There were a few laugh
out loud moments, and a few mildly amusing stretches, and then there
were parts that just weren't funny at all.
But the overall experience wasn't that bad, considering I was just looking for a movie that would make me laugh and pass the night away on those rare date nights with my wife.
The only real complaint I had about it was the language. I thought some of the profanity was a bit excessive, especially considering past Will Ferrell movies. And that's really all the R rating is there for.
Figured the holiday was a great time to catch this movie, which I
wasn't overly excited about, but thought it would be something to do on
a lazy afternoon.
Got to the cinema a tad early and sat down and played some golf on my phone. About 10 mins in and I was the only one there. Awesome. Sadly about 5mins later two losers with no friends walked in, making it a cosy cinema of 3.
The film starts with a pre-game intro of the Flint Tropics, a struggling team in the former ABA basketball league. We learn from the get go that Jackie Moon (Ferrell, in a role not much of a stretch for him) is the team owner, promoter, coach as well as a player. Jackie brought the team on the back of his one-hit wonder "Love Me Sexy" and is in it just for the fame and fun. Before too long Jackie finds out his team will absorbed by the ABA-NBA merger...unless he can get them in the Top 4 teams. Jackie goes out and signs (from a trade for a washing machine) Monix, played by formerly good actor Woody Harrelson in a minor attempt to tun things around. Soon he makes some other changes, such as agreeing to let Monix become coach to get his team into the NBA. Will it work......? See it to find out.
There's some more good quirky Ferrell humour, but this isn't a classic. The story had a lot more potential but in some circumstances went too oddball and weird and missed some good opportunities, probably largely due to the extra screen time given to Ferrell. Give him a few better support comedians and this could have been a classic. They missed some great opportunities with the basketball action too. One of the early scenes was gold.....but then after that very little was paid attention to.
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