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A Semi success

Will Ferrell stars in one sports flick too many for Heather Smith. So does Semi Pro hit the mark?

Published on March 5th 2008.


A Semi success

FUR coats, flared pastel suits and impeccably groomed, albeit bloody awful barnets. Yes, Will Ferrell is back in the seventies and back on our screens with his latest silly-sport-star comedy, Semi-Pro.

Will Ferrell is becoming somewhat of an anorak in these sport-spoofs. Semi-Pro is his fourth similar offering in as many years. We have seen him play Number 1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby (Talledega Nights), family-man come soccer coach Phil Weston (Kicking And Screaming), sex addict figure skating champion Chaz Micheal Micheals (Blades of Glory) And now... Jackie Moon, the coach/promoter/player of no-hope, buffoon-filled basketball team Flint Michigan Tropics.

The terrible assortment of no-good-numptys face the boot from the National Basketball Association if they don't buck their ideas up. The aim of the game is to finish in the top four of the league and draw in much greater crowds. An impossible task that might just be possible. Hmm. Much of the comedy derives from the absurd attemts to gain the crowds: expect Spandex, skates and err, an rather large inflatable sun costume. This is Ferrell and strange/stupid is what he does best.

It's good to see Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers etc) return to a little light hearted humour; he holds the floor well in the scenes where he acts as team motivator, although it is a shame that most of his lines revolve around the creepy and quite frankly pointless romantic sub-plot with Maura Tierney (ER). By far the low point of scriptwriter Scott Armstrong's first solo effort. Andre Benjamin gives a great performance as the the team's only truly talented player, he also dishes out some impressive dancing skills over the film's 1970s soundtrack of Jean Knight, Sly & The Family Stone and Will Ferrell himself with Jackie Moon's washed-out, one hit wonder Love Me Sexy, which you will be singing, quite annoyingly so, on the way home from the cinema.

Admittedly, there are parts of the film that should and probably are unacceptably predictable and cringewrothy – see the Heaven sent visit from Mother Moon - but often for fans of this line of comedy, the downright stupidity is all part of the fun. You can see the resolution within the first half hour of the film, if you payed enough attention to the trailer, you could probably make an educated guess at it beforehand. Don't go to see this film if you are expecting challenging cinema. The film is not challenging but it doesn't claim to be. We can see from the outset where we are going but, as with all Will Ferrell films, it the over exaggerated, ridiculous journey we take to get there that makes the film fun to watch.

If you spend your days relaying quotes from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy then the thought of Will Ferrell in 1976 basketball shorts should be enough to see you flocking to the cinema. If you are thinking Anchorwhat? Who? Then it's probably best if you stay at home.

This is not the best film in which Ferrel has starred and it is probably for the best that he intends to leave the sport flicks to lie low for a while but a strong supporting cast deliver enough absurd quirps to allow it to be equally as enjoyable as its peers.

Semi-Pro is a light hearted comedy that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and also make you wish you were back in the seventies in order to pull off the shiny shirt and neck-tie combo. A must for Ferrell Fans.

Semi Pro (15) is on general release now.

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