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Missed Free Throw Opportunities

  • Jun 16, 2008
Rating:
-1
It must have been sophomore week. `Meet The Spartans (Rated)' and `Semi-Pro' were both released on June 3rd making them top competitors for the cheesiest comedy of the week. Which one won is beyond the scope of my judgment, but both films had their moments, and both qualify for contenders of the year.

`Semi-Pro' stars Will Ferrell, so we know partly what to expect of the material, but the quality is in position we're to pose during the field of play. Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, the coach of NBA franchise expansion team, the Flint, Michigan "Tropics". We can only deduce by the name that they had once belonged to a city known for warmer days, especially during the winters, but it's an effective touch, letting us know the daunting task of coming up from the gutter.

The movie does this in more ways than one. Jackie is one of the team's chief promoters. Desperate, he resorts to anything from "Free Gerbil Night" to a fundraiser fight in a boxing ring with a ferocious bear. Always at the mercy of the NBA Commissioner (David Koechner) and their hearing board, Jackie has to get his basketball team out of the doldrums and back in the heat.

It's not all gloom and doom. On their team is former Celtic and NBA championship ring bearer, Monix (Woody Harrelson) whose role in victory was cursory at best. Still, the team has some potential pro players on their roster, making the goals at least tangible enough to keep us watching. Part of the plot involves Monix renewing his interest in former flame, Lynne, which does little either for the plot or our interest.

At the beginning the movie relies a lot on genital jokes, but just like the inspiration and perspiration, it only improves on form. (It's not that I object per se, but don't expect this film to hit you like 'Superbad (Rated)' did.) Oscar nominee Jackie Earl Haley doesn't provide much comedy, but he gets three-pointers (comparatively) for his acting. Mainly a plot device, he improves the teamwork, but not by much. The film's best assets come from the game announcers, Dick Pepperfield (Andrew Daly) and Lou Redwood (Will Arnett) who are just as crude as anyone else, but whose wit and delivery greatly improve the show.

Farrell fans should note that he's still got the right touch. Harrelson at times seems lackluster, so don't expect a `No Country for Old Men,' `Kingpin,' or even a Woody of 'Cheers' performance, but I can't fault him. Blame Scot Armstrong's script--for, well--almost everything. Overall, `Semi-Pro' is no `Blades of Glory (Full Screen Edition),' `Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (Unrated Full Screen Edition),' or 'Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Unrated Full Screen Edition),' but if you can laugh at anything Farrell does, then you're in the game fer sure. I vote for Clarence "Coffee Black" (Andre' Benjamin) as MVP for injecting some badly needed inspiration into the whole venue.

The best scene: Seeing the Tropics dressed in elaborate sea horse costumes, wiggling to disco music during the half-time show.

The worst scene: Watching a devoted fan get aroused while Monix gets intimately reacquainted with Lynne on the couch.

Final thought: I'll bet the promotional commercials sell more Old Spice underarm deodorant than DVD copies. I don't want to be mean, but I hope so.

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More Semi-Pro reviews
review by . November 14, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     Time: The `70s     1. Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one hit wonder who owns, coaches and plays with his basketball team the Flint Tropics.   2. As you would expect, the team isn't doing very well   3. Down and out, but not giving up, Moon negotiates a chance for his team to join the NBA   4. Maybe white men can't jump, but he trades a major appliance for Ed Monnix (Woody Harrelson) …
review by . April 20, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
It's 1976 and Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) is on top of the world. He made a fortune with his one-hit wonder, "Do Me Sexy" and used part of his earnings from the song to buy a professional basketball team, the Flint (as in Michigan)Tropics in the American Basketball Association (ABA). Jackie is the owner, promoter, coach, and one of the team's star players. All of Jackie's dreams seem to be coming true when at the latest owners meeting it is announced that the NBA is going to merge with the ABA. However, …
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John L. Peterson ()
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I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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The 1970s are back in all their excessive glory inSemi-Pro, an uneven but not uninspired Will Ferrell comedy about a professional basketball team that puts more energy into insane promotional schemes than playing well on the court. Ferrell stars as Jackie Moon, a former pop sensation who made enough money from a couple of hit records (the biggest: "Love Me Sexy") to buy Flint, Mich.'s the Tropics, a disorganized bunch of losers with one genuine talent named Coffee Black (Andre J. Benjamin). Despite knowing little about the game, Jackie is the Tropics' coach as well as a player, though his greater love is in coming up with such bizarre marketing stunts as wrestling a bear and attempting a motorcycle jump over a line of cheerleaders. When the Tropics look like they might be shut down, Jackie desperately agrees to let washed-up veteran player Monix (Woody Harrelson) take over coaching, turning the team's fortunes around--just a bit. The film's thin premise opens the floodgates to a series of absurd vignettes that suit Ferrell's silly-satiric brand of frat humor very well. There are choice moments, such as Jackie's table-shoving tantrum at a meeting of team owners (presided over by an aghast but tolerant commissioner, adroitly played by David Koechner), and his rapid escape from the Tropics' arena when he realizes everyone in the stands has won free corndogs (at Jackie's expense). Other performers shine, too, including Will ...
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