For those looking for the latest, funniest Will Ferrell movie, “Semi-Pro” surely isn’t it. Instead of wasting your time and money watching this it would be easier to revisit some of his earlier films. This latest movie is so bad that it wouldn’t qualify as “remotely” funny in any way.
Ferrell stars as entrepreneur/singer/basketball player/owner, Jackie Moon who owns the ABA team, the Flint Tropics. A master of promotional gimmicks but weak on “X and O’s,” his team is one of the worst in the league. Suddenly, Moon is summoned to a meeting of fellow owners and told that the league is preparing to merge with the more-established NBA. He throws a hissy-fit when initially he learns that his beloved Tropics won’t be one of the teams, but Moon rallies his fellow owners into an agreement that the top four teams with the best record would be NBA-bound.
In past films, Ferrell has been successful at taking slightly zany situations and melding his unique talents to winning, enjoyable material. Unfortunately, no such opportunity presents itself in “Semi-Pro.” Based on the true story of the merger between the NBA and ABA, the film even features the real teams from the defunct league.
Instead of working with a humorous plot to paint his comedic canvas, Ferrell is reduced to playing a sad sack, clueless player/owner who must conjure up ways to draw fans to see his pathetic team play. Whether wrestling a bear, making his players wear ridiculous eyeliner during a game or parading as tropical props during timeouts, the film’s jokes all fall flatter than a manhole cover.
Even the supporting players can’t do much to save this film from enterting into the land of comic doom. Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, Woody Harelson and Maura Tierney must clearly have read a different script than the finished product and may need to go into the crowded “bad actor protection program” once this dog hits theaters.
From an actor as accomplished as Ferrell, it is puzzling to understand what he thought was funny about this story. This updated version of “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh,” featured too many jokes that not only didn’t work, but left you scratching your head as well. One character enjoys watching his “wife/girlfriend” having sex with another character while another perennially-stoned fan can’t understand why the bank won’t cash his “big paper check.”
Early in the film, Moon croons that he wants to “Love You Sexy,” but he spends the entire film showing the audience anything but love. Only dedicated fans will enjoy Ferrell’s worst film, “Semi-Pro,” which is in a sorry league of its own. If you want funny Ferrell, stay home and watch “Old School,” “Anchorman” or “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Now, those Ferrell films were funny!