SEMI-PRO (Kent Alterman). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (February 29). Rating: NN
Is this really only Will Ferrell’s fourth sports comedy? Hasn’t he appeared in, like, all of them? Or does it just feel that way?
Semi-Pro is the latest ramshackle sports movie – after Kicking And Screaming, Talladega Nights and last year’s Blades Of Glory – to slap Ferrell into a competitive setting and let him do his Will Ferrell thing. Which means Will Ferrell shouts, Will Ferrell sweats and Will Ferrell spouts non sequiturs until Will Ferrell gets tired and calls it a day. Which, I would argue, Will Ferrell should have done immediately after Anchorman.
It’s not that Ferrell isn’t funny; he can be hysterical, and he does manage to pull a couple of real laughs out of some very flabby material here, playing Jackie Moon, the aging, showboating player, coach and owner of the Flint, Michigan, Tropics.
To save his second-tier team from dissolution as the American Basketball Association is absorbed into the NBA, Jackie hires an aging ringer (Woody Harrelson) to turn the team around, which irritates his star player (André Benjamin, once again better than his material).
It’s basically Major League all over again, with some atrocious 1976 fashions and a kickass period soundtrack dropped in from Anchorman.
Except that those other movies were, you know, funny.