The biggest surprises of the movie are the things coming out of Ferrell’s mouth.
Semi-Pro is a "Will Ferrell comedy" at its best, so as long as you don’t expect anything more than that, you’ll love the movie and laugh harder than you have in a while. Ferrell does what he does best, with an unusual supporting cast that somehow manages to keep up with him and even enhances the movie’s comedy.
Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a ’70s-era one-hit wonder who becomes the owner, coach, promoter and star player of the Flint, Mich., Tropics, a team in the American Basketball Association. Moon has run the team into the ground with outlandish promotions and a solid standing in last place in the league. He starts to lose his "Everybody love everybody" vibe when he finds out his team is not going to be one of the ABA teams to merge with the NBA. His only hope is to pull his team into fourth place to become one of the lucky four who will merge.
Moon’s team is made up of poorly coordinated and unskilled players, except for Downtown Clarence Coffee Black (Andre Benjamin), or whatever name he chooses to go by from game to game, who actually has the talent to make it in the NBA. To help save the team, he trades the team’s washing machine for the once-decent Edward Monix (Woody Harrelson), who still has the ability to play the game he loves.
The biggest surprises of the movie are the things coming out of Ferrell’s mouth. For the most part, he’s been a PG-13 type of guy, but in Semi-Pro you would think he was reading lines written by Judd Apatow. The movie is rated R for a reason, and Ferrell takes advantage by unleashing a barrage of insults and expletives that rival Knocked Up and Superbad.
Harrelson is great as an athlete who is trying to deny that he missed out on his glory days. There are cameos aplenty, from The Daily Show alumni to Saturday Night Live cast members. But this is Ferrell’s show and he plays the idiot in power as well as ever. Jackie Moon has some great catchphrases and his personal style goes a long way, but it might not reach the level of popularity Ferrell reached with Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.
With Semi-Pro, expect Will Ferrell’s unique style of comedy and ear for humor and you’ll enjoy yourself and be glad you paid your eight bucks. | Matthew F. Newlin