Posted May 29, 2008 in The Small Screen

Sometimes in basketball the ball bounces off the rim and seems to hang there, undecided. Enough English on it and it’ll probably go in, but there’s an equal chance it will fall the other way and result in nothing. Semi-Pro is like that ball. Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, owner/player/coach of the struggling Flint Tropics in the also struggling yet flamboyant American Basketball Association (ABA). When he finds out that the Tropics are likely going to be the victims of the league’s merger with the NBA, Moon does what he can to save the team alongside past-his-prime player Monix (Woody Harrelson) and a cast of comedic pros like Andy Richter, Will Arnett, and Andrew Daly. The film looks great, recreating the ’70s without overdoing it, and sounds fantastic with a groovy disco soundtrack, but although it is funny . . . you just can’t help waiting for it to be funnier.  Part of the problem is that first-time director (but experienced producer) Kent Alterman kowtows a little too much to Ferrell’s zany ad-libs which turns the man who should be the heart of the movie (Moon) into a misguided doofus (even more so in the unrated version) leaving Harrelson’s Monix to play straight man and protagonist. Had Ferrell been reined in a bit, or if the movie as a whole had been let loose a little more, it might have been a slam-dunk, as it is, it’s just a ball bouncing on the rim. The DVD extras, on the other hand, are all winners with info on the ABA and no holds barred wisecracking from Ferrell and the supporting cast. (Red Vaughn) 


New Line, 100 minutes (unrated), 91 minutes (theatrical) 

Release date: June 3




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