The comedy “Semi-Pro” is in every sense a Will Ferrell movie.
The comedian’s formula for a winning film has been perfected – cameos from his movie star friends, gross-out humor with at least one partially nude scene, one-liners that only Ferrell could pull off and slapstick gags with someone being hit where it hurts the most.
But the beauty of a movie formula is fans know exactly what to expect.
“Semi-Pro” is no exception, and audiences can be sure that their time in the theater will be spent laughing at Ferrell’s antics.
The film is about a 1970s small town basketball team hoping to be merged into the NBA.
Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, an afroed soul singer who bought the Flint Tropics in hopes of making them into a star team.
Moon’s only hit single, “Love Me Sexy” is enough to have the audience chuckling, and Ferrell’s leisure suits and ridiculously big hair are enough to keep the giggling going.
Woody Harrelson plays Monix, a player past his prime who’s drafted on the Tropics to improve the team.
His character doesn’t feel necessary to the plot, and his love interest, Maura Tierney (“ER”) also seem pretty irrelevant.
The movie, although only 90 minutes long, would still be more concise if these characters were not in it.
Two of the best characters don’t have the most screen time but they too earn their share of hilarious moments.
Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) and Andrew Daly are announcers for the Tropics.
Their outrageous plaid pants and ludicrous reporting skills make the basketball scenes interesting.
One insists on smoking and drinking scotch while commenting on the game and the other has a funny name (which in this movie is enough of a stunt.)
However, another team member played by Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000) of the hip-hop group, Outkast, is the movie’s heart.
He pushes the team to play well and its his lines as straight man to Ferrell that keep the movie grounded.
Of course the film is predictable, but Ferrell provides enough funny lines to keep the audience roaring with laughter.
Moon is determined to get his team into the NBA and will stop at nothing to promote them.
He needs to get more fans into the bleacher seats and resorts to wrestling a bear, giving away free corn dogs and flying off a huge jump on roller skates.
Let’s face it: the more times Ferrell gets hurt, the funnier it is.
The movie didn’t live up to box office standards according to many critics.
Ferrell brings in the fans, but by many estimates his meager $15 million last weekend could have been better.
Sure the movie is simple, with very foreseeable events, but if you’re still quoting “Old School” and can’t get enough of “Saturday Night Live” reruns, then “Semi-Pro” is a great film for you.
Just remember: laughing at childish things doesn’t make you immature. It makes you fit right in with the writers and actors involved with this movie.
Erin Konrad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.