Director: Kent Alterman
Cast: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Andre
Benjamin, Maura Tierney, Will Arnett, Andy Richter, Rob Corddry,
DeRay Davis, Josh Braaten, Jay Phillips, Jackie Earle Haley
1 hr 31 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: SemiPromovie.com
Opening Day: 20 March 2008
Will Ferrell stars in "Semi-Pro," an outrageous
comedy set in 1976 against the backdrop of the maverick ABA
– a fast-paced, wild and crazy basketball league that
rivaled the NBA and made a name for itself with innovations
like the three-point shot and slam dunk contest. Ferrell plays
Jackie Moon, 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. If they want to survive,
Jackie and the Tropics must now do the seemingly impossible
As formulaic as it goes, Semi-Pro chronicles the fictional
team, Flint Michigan Tropics’s attempt to hop onto the
NBA-ABA merger bandwagon in the 1976. Scraping the bottom
of the league table, there wasn’t any real possibility
that the Flint Tropics will be heading to the big league until
Will Ferrell (Jackie Moon) demanded that the top four teams
will get the merger instead of the pre selected teams.
a tough challenge made even tougher when Jackie Moon being
the boss, coach, and starting player for the Tropics knows
very little about x and o of basketball. However, his passion
to keep his team from dissolving was undeniable infectious
and veering to the edge of lunacy. There’s no stopping
him from bringing more audience to the game even if it meant
putting a death match with a bear during the halftime show.
only possible saving grace for his basketball team comes from
two of his star players.
of the two star players is Woody Harrelson (Monix), a washed
up player who was once in a NBA championship team. Monix marks
those players who won the championship rings by warming the
bench during the playoffs and never had the chance to proof
that they had the ability to win those big games. While others
would revel at the fact that he had the ring, he would always
have the self doubting baggage on his abilities.
Benjamin’s Coffee Black (that his character’s
name), on the other hand marks a talented player who is squandering
his time and skills in the minor league. He has the potential
to be a NBA player but without proper coaching and stuck in
a hopeless team, it seems that his future is dim and set to
sink with the team.
trio must find a way to resolve their individual and collective
obstacles. There is nothing new about these characters’s
objective or how it would be resolved but at least these goals
were well defined and relatable. Together with a combination
of likable characters, on screen charisma and clear while
challenging goals, it’s not hard to get in the mood
of rooting for these underdogs to come out on top.
highlight of the movie was the slight modification from Hollywood’s
against all odds type of happy endings. If you have been following
the current NBA, it’s obvious which teams made into
the merger. This detour offers is underlying celebratory message
that although not everyone can be the champion but doing the
best in one’s ability even in their limited talent/
resources is what truly matters.
highlight of this movie would be the sincere homage to the
basketball game in the midst of comedic detours. Minor things
like running practice plays without a ball and even the lack
of regulation for certain ball play back in the 70s were a
nice reverence to the tradition of basketball game.
you don’t come into a Will Ferrell’s movie not
looking for laughs. The jokes in this movie were quite a mixed
bunch. There are intense ones such as unintentional Russian
roulette and then there are those that required plenty of
effort but landed with little reaction from the audience (such
as the one where Jackie Moon rolls off a ramp and onto the
cheerleader). There are some jokes about basketball that those
who have fanatic interest in basketball could appreciate and
there are blatantly outrageous ones that other might enjoyed.
Semi Pro didn’t fare well in the US box office collection
(as compared to Will Ferrell’s previous two sport movies)
and the critics (both professional and many of the casual
viewers) generally disliked it. In all actuality, the jokes
in Semi Pro were a mixed bag and the story was built on those
cliché tales for Hollywood loveable losers going against
the odds. But there’s something special about this movie
that charms the socks off this reviewer and it’s a little
something call heart.
(Semi Fun, Semi Formulaic but Semi Pro is packed with lots
Review by Richard Lim Jr