Rated R. Click here
to view the trailer.
Simply and brutally, Semi-Pro is only semi-funny. Sure, it’s hard to live up to wacky sports comedies like Dodgeball or Talledega Nights, but if anyone can, surely it’s Will Ferrell, right? I mean, he’s done it at least three times before, right? Too bad he couldn’t pull out a fourth. We should all at least be thankful he doesn’t run around in his tighty whities, although we are “treated” to some slow motion up-the-short-short views.
Will is Jackie Moon, the favorite son of Flint, Mich. (“with the possible exception of Henry Ford”) and the owner/coach/pre-game announcer/power forward of the Flint Tropics. The Tropics and the ABA as a whole are going out of business and can’t compete with their rival, the NBA for fans, viewers or $$. The NBA has agreed to buy out the ABA and absorb the best four teams into the NBA, thus giving Will and Co. the motivation they need to drag themselves out of the basement.
A quick cruise through Wikipedia shows that the Flint Tropics were not part of the ABA and are entirely fictional. I think the film makers are probably trying to be funny with the whole irony thing, but it’s just so lame, the optimist in me hopes they just picked slips of paper from two hats.
By far, the funniest thing about Semi-Pro is the series of Old Spice commercials Will did in promoting the film. Seriously, they are 18x funnier than this movie.
Here’s a typical Semi-Pro joke set up and crash. To bring in fans, Jackie promised free corn dogs to each person in the stands if the Tropics score 125 points. This is a problem, because there are no hot dogs. Despite his best efforts, the Tropics win by with 126 points. Does hilarity ensue? Nope. It’s just the end of the scene.
Will plays basketball, but it’s not funny. He promotes games with wacky events that (should be funny but) aren’t funny. He’s a disco one-hit wonder, but it’s not funny. I’m not really even sure Jackie Moon qualifies as a character. His mother is Patti LaBelle, but it’s not funny. The Flint Tropics is made up of colorful characters including Woody Harelson and Andre 3000, but they’re not funny. I think Will’s fro and Woody’s I’m-not-sure-what-you-call-that-hair-style are supposed to be funny, but they’re not. The referee (at every single game, no less) is a priest, complete with a collar, which could be really funny, but isn’t. He wrestles a bear named Dewey, and that IS kind of semi-funny.
Andrew Daly and Will Arnet try to pepper in some humor as the team’s play by play radio personalities, but aside from laughing at Will’s mustache, the jokes are pretty few and far between. Then again, it is hard to compete with Jason Bateman and Gary Cole from Dodgeball.
Oh, there is a vague (and I do mean vague) love triangle between Woody, Maura Tierny (from News Radio) and Rob Corrdry, but it’s so, well, vague, that it’s not even semi-funny.
Tim Meadows makes an appearance, proving once again how not funny he truly is. At all. Bad, Tim! Bad! He must have some really juicy dirt on Will.
This movie is rated R, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. There’s no violence, no drugs and no sex. There is a tiny bit of language, but you’d hear worse during 10 minutes of an average little league game. Fine, I’ll give it a semi-R.