The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Ferrell scores with ‘Semi-Pro’

­You already know whether or not you’re going to see the new Will Ferrell movie, “Semi-Pro.” It basically comes down to whether or not you’re a fan of Will Ferrell. If you are, then you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not, well, you get the idea.

“Semi-Pro” stars Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon, a 1970s one-hit wonder who uses the profits from his song, “Love Me Sexy,” to buy the Flint Tropics, the worst basketball team in the ABA. Moon serves as manager, coach and power forward for the Tropics, a motley crew of wannabes with one breakout star, Clarence “Coffee Black” Withers (Andre Benjamin, “Idlewild”). The team is satisfied with its mediocrity until the league plans to merge with the NBA and eliminate the losing teams. Moon, while continuing to think up new ways to attract a crowd to Tropics’ games, recruits former Celtics benchwarmer Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson, “No Country for Old Men”) to re-energize the team.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this is yet another entry into the long line of Ferrell sports comedies. Ferrell simply keeps making the same movie and changing the sport and the supporting cast: “Kicking and Screaming,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Blades of Glory.” But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Elvis Presley made the exact same movie about 20 times over simply by changing the locale, the hit single and the leading lady, and people still seemed to like those.

In any case, “Semi-Pro” is a step up for Ferrell. It is consistently funnier than “Kicking and Screaming” and “Blades of Glory,” but not quite as quotable as “Talladega Nights.” What really elevates the comedy is its R rating, allowing Ferrell and his crew to be as foul-mouthed as they want to be, always with hilarious results.

While Ferrell carries the film with the gusto and panache that comes with being an experienced comedic actor, the supporting performances absolutely make “Semi-Pro.” Will Arnett (“Hot Rod,” “Blades of Glory,” TV’s “Arrested Development”) kills as Tropics commentator Lou Redwood, using his sardonic charm to combine many of his previous characters from television and film into an alcoholic who says pretty much whatever he’s thinking. Andy Richter (“Talladega Nights,” TV’s “Andy Barker, P.I.”) also has some great moments as Jackie Moon’s right-hand man. Even though he’s only in one scene, Tim Meadows is sidesplitting as Moon’s friend Frank.

The film is written by Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “Starsky and Hutch”), who does a great job of mixing 1970s attitudes and nostalgia and making them funny to modern audiences without resorting to unnecessary references. However, the romantic subplot between Monix and an ex-girlfriend (Maura Tierney, “Liar Liar,” TV’s “ER”) feels forced and only distracts from the comedic aspects of the film.

While some jokes fall flat in this ode to amateur basketball, many land soundly thanks to the brilliant comedic timing of the cast. The ticket price is worth it just to hear Ferrell repeatedly belt out “Love Me Sexy” and attempt to wrestle a bear. Overall, “Semi-Pro” is nothing unexpected from Ferrell and his crew, but it’s still laugh-out-loud funny.

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