Semi-Pro

Out Now On-Demand

From the writer of 'Old School', this is comic-of-the moment Will Ferrell’s new sports comedy set in 1976, against the backdrop of the maverick ABA – a league that rivaled the NBA and made a name for itself with innovations like the three-point shot and slam dunk contest.

Jackie Moon (Ferrell), a one-hit wonder who used the profits from the success of his chart-topping song 'Love Me Sexy' to achieve his dream of owning a basketball team. But Moon's franchise, the Flint Michigan Tropics, is the worst team in the league and in danger of folding when the ABA announces its plans to merge with the NBA. This sets up, in an exceptionally radical move in the history of motion pictures, a storyline in which the Tropics must win to survive.
This ordinary, slightly boring comedy is for Will Ferrell fans only.

After millions of underdog sports movies have pummeled us into submission, somebody somewhere thought it would be a brilliantly original idea to make an underdog sports movie. Logic aside, this particular story follows Jackie Moon, a ridiculous man who made a fortune with a hit-single ‘Love Me Sexy’ and with the proceeds bought a basketball team which he decided to captain.

Will Ferrell (The Biggest Comedian In The World™) performs his usual character – the boorish shouting man. But there’s still something appealing about his shameless mugging (a highlight includes him lying forlorn in a dumpster) and he has enough charisma to drag this drab story to the end.

Co-star Woody Harrelson, however, is completely wasted in a useless non-comedic role as a faded ex-sports star. André Benjamin (aside from the hilarious afro) is equally squandered. It’s very telling that of the three characters on the film’s poster, two of them are the straight men.

The laughs are not very original. Wrestling with a bear is just one of the many sequences that you’ll be convinced you’ve seen somewhere before.

The soundtrack includes a good, but not exceptional collection of soul funk hits by the usual suspects – Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Sly and the Family Stone, etc. Production design is impressive, capturing a really colourful slice of the 70s. The cinematography is also pretty slick; this is certainly the best looking comedy in a while.

It’s not a terrible movie, just forgettable. Will Ferrell is great, but he’s beginning to parody himself by starring in increasingly pointless and underwhelming comedies like this one.

BBC

press

Problem is, the story's dull, and the laughs leak away. There's no sense of excitement about the team's progress, and most of the characters are underdeveloped. ER's Maura Tierney pops up in a thankless role as Monix's ex, although her current beau's obsession with the player does lead to one funny, risque scene. Andre Benjamin also manages to eke a bit of personality out of his limited role. Semi-Pro is no disaster, but debut director Kent Alterman proves that Ferrell is better off working with the pros.

Christchurch Press [Margaret Agnew]

press

True, there are some amusing set-ups, particularly involving Jackie's in-game tactics and pre-match promotions (wrestling a bear, rollerskating over cheerleaders, free gerbil night), but nothing here is as outrageous as what went on at the real-life New York Cosmos during the same era, as documented in 2006's Once in a Lifetime.

Hollywood Reporter

press

The comedy is sloppy, crude and contains far too many misfires, but the film does capture the old ABA spirit in its ungainly struggles to wrestle laughs from seriously mediocre material.

New York Times

press

Semi-Pro finds the sweet spot between sports melodrama and parody, and hammers it for 90 diverting minutes.

Sunday Star Times [Barney McDonald]

press

Films like this are a calculated insult to intelligence, which possibly explains why they do so well at the box office.

Urban Cinefile [Australia]

press

Tired and tawdry, this tedious misfire is a misjudgement on Ferrell's part, namely in terms of material. Okay, okay, it's colourful in parts, and there is an amusing sequence in which a red-cloaked Ferrell has a punch up with Dewey the bear, but overall, Semi-Pro is a boring boor.

Variety [USA]

press

Very much in the tradition of "Slap Shot," George Roy Hill's raucously funny and foul-mouthed 1977 laffer about the misadventures of a minor-league hockey team, Semi-Pro scores big laughs with the rowdy play-by-play of hard-luck hoopsters struggling for professional survival.

Terrible.

user


Terrible.

If Anchorman is a perfect Big Mac, and Talladega Nights is a McChicken that's been in the warmer for ten minutes, and Blades of Glory is half a pack of cold mcnuggets, Semi-pro is one of those new "fruit bags" they give kids instead of fries. I guess what I'm trying to say is it f***ing sucks.

Will shoots but misses, only Ferrell fans will play ball with this over the top sports comedy.

user


Will shoots but misses, only Ferrell fans will play ball with this over the top sports comedy.

Will Ferrell steps into his familiar role from his past here, but this time he’s rocking the sneakers. And although some may have seen this role before from him and feel his act is getting a bit stale and annoying I’m thinking not so. Like in his previous films, Will again takes the very bright spotlight and with his flair creates yet another bigger than king kong performance here albeit a tad over the top. He does get all the laughs, one extremely funny scene during one game was if the Tropics scored 125 pts each of the audience will get one free corndog which cheapskate Jackie Moon isn’t going to hand over cheaply and will try to destroy his own teams chances to not let them get that total!

Of the rest of the players, Woody Harrelson still shows how white men can’t jump, and Andre 3000 should get props for costume design as one thinks he had some say in it.

The film as a hole I though was lacking that extra something, and left me somewhat disappointed.

Dissapointing, but not terrible

user


Dissapointing, but not terrible

This is pretty average. BUT... Will Ferrell is hilarious, there's no denying this fact. And he makes it worth while if your expectations aren't too high. Also, pleasingly, the story moves swiftly and little is build or dull character development. Everything is aiming to be a joke (not that everying is funny).