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Same old Will Ferrell movie.
Will Ferrell Stars in the Sports/Comedy "Semi-Pro."
OPENING WEEKEND: $38,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $120,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

November 19th, 2007: Will Ferrell stars in Semi-Pro, an outrageous comedy set in 1976 against the backdrop of the maverick ABA - a fast-paced, wild and crazy basketball league that rivaled the NBA and made a name for itself with innovations like the three-point shot and slam dunk contest. Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one-hit wonder who used the profits from the success of his chart-topping song "Love Me Sexy" to achieve his dream of owning a basketball team. But Moon's franchise, the Flint Michigan Tropics, is the worst team in the league and in danger of folding when the ABA announces its plans to merge with the NBA. If they want to survive, Jackie and the Tropics must now do the seemingly impossible - win.

What to Expect: Do you know that catchy song that gets stuck in your head, but after a couple of weeks you just cannot stand anymore? That happens because we are human and our senses get dulled by the repetition. Unfortunately, Will Ferrell is about to become that annoying jingle, since for the last five years he has been playing the same character in the same movie over and over again. The last five years he has done Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory and in 2008 he will release Semi-Pro which are all basically the same movie with the same character. In fact, his projects have gotten progressively worse with Blades of Glory being border line unwatchable. Now, I am not saying that Semi-Pro is not going to be funny, on the contrary, I think it is going to be hilarious. It's just that most of the laughs are not going to come from Will Ferrell, but from the great supporting cast that has been assembled around him.

Article continues below

Semi-Pro tells the tale of Jackie Moon, a misfit who makes a fortune by writing a hit song called "Baby Who Wants to Love Me Sexy." He has no talent for music and actually stole the song from his mother, so he decides to invest his money in another thing he has no talent for, professional basketball. He purchases an ABA team called the Tropics and installs himself as the team's coach and power forward. The ABA then merges with the NBA and the Tropics must prove that they are marketable and can win in the new league in order to keep from getting kicked out. The story then plays out like every other underdog sports story ever written: Moon goes out and hires Monix, a disgraced former NBA player to try to coach the team to a win. To keep it even more cliché, Monix not only tries to improve the team, but he also tries to win the girl of his dreams, how creative. They resort to all kinds of humorous tricks to make up for their lack of talent, including hiring a stripper to motivate the team, fighting only during commercial breaks, having scandalously clad girls on roller skates (people in the 70's loved roller skates), making all their fans sit on one side of the stadium to make it look like a sold out arena on TV, and even a fighting bear! Unfortunately, this story is nothing we have not seen before. A lot of 70's jokes will be similar to the ones in Anchorman and a lot of sports jokes will be similar to Blades of Glory and Talladega, except instead of car racing and figure skating, it is going to be basketball. Ferrell is going to be that same old lovable man child and you are sure to see his chest hair as much as possible, but it is all getting old. What is most surprising about the script is that it is penned by Scot Armstrong. Armstrong wrote two of my favorite comedies of the last decade: Old School and Road Trip. However, his last two movies were pretty bad: The Heartbreak Kid and School for Scoundrels. Those two films both had a great cast and proven directors, so the script must be blamed. However, do not despair, I have read parts of the screenplay for Semi-Pro and it looks pretty funny. There is one thing that can ruin it though and that is the director, Kent Alterman. Alterman has produced many movies and is currently an executive at New Line, but he has no experience directing. I fear that because of his corporate ties, he will spend too much time plugging different products and not enough time trying to make us laugh, but enough of the negative.

Remember when I said in the beginning of this preview that this movie is going to be hilarious? Well, I still stand by that statement, because of the incredible supporting cast. First, we have Woody Harrelson as Monix which is a very similar role to Roy Munson in King Pin. Both are over the hill athletes with a chip on their shoulder and Harrelson does that perfectly. He has not been as popular these days as he was ten years ago, but that will all change with this movie. He is going to steal the spotlight from Ferrell and become the star of Semi-Pro. Secondly, the movie has Andy Richter. Richter's star has dimmed some since he left Conan O'Brien's side, but he is still very funny in small doses, and that is exactly what we are going to get here. Thirdly, the movie features the ever funny Will Arnett. Arnett has parlayed his success on Arrested Development as Gob to a nice movie career. These guys would be enough to make a funny movie by themselves, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The movie obviously has Rob Corddry, who is in a good number of comedies that are coming out in 07 and 08. Finally, to make the movie a little more believable, since it would be hard to imagine an all white basketball team, Andre 3000 was cast as the token black guy. I never really liked Andre as a musician or an actor, but all the talent around him should make him look decent. It was also rumored that Owen and Luke Wilson would have cameos since they were hanging out on set, but that did not come to fruition. It turned out that the only "frat pack" member other than Ferrell to have some lines is David Koechner, and his part is small. However, there are plenty of hilarious comedians to make this movie quite enjoyable.

In Conclusion: Despite a pretty unoriginal story, this movie should still be pretty funny. Will Ferrell continues to sign up for the same projects over and over again hurting his popularity in the process, but I do not think the roof is going to cave in on him in Semi-Pro. At least at 6'3" he is much better suited to play a basketball player than a figure skater, so it will be more believable. The movie continues to bill him as the star, placing his image in all promotional posters and all over the teaser. However, the true stars of this movie are in the supporting cast, especially Woody Harrelson, who will make it much funnier than Ferrell's last few flicks. So if you are in the mood for a raunchy adult comedy with plenty of your favorite comedic actors, then this movie is the one. So go see Semi-Pro.

Similar Titles: Blades of Glory, Anchorman, Talladega Nights
February 29th, 2008 (wide)
June 3rd, 2008 (DVD)

New Line Cinema

Kent Alterman

Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Will Arnett, Jay Phillips, Josh Braaten, Rob Corddry, DeRay Davis, Maura Tierney, Jackie Earle Haley, Andy Richter, David Koechner

Total: 54 vote(s).

Comedy, Sports

Click here to view site

Rated R






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