Tuesday, March 18, 2008

‘Semi-Pro’ only semi-amusing unless you are a Ferrell fan

By MELODY STONE, The Eureka Reporter

Published: Mar 14 2008, 1:19 AM
Category: Arts

If you have a Will Ferrell sense of humor, you will love “Semi-Pro.” I am someone who prefers Will Ferrell in supporting roles or dramadies. “Semi-Pro” was a formulaic rehashing of every other Will Ferrell movie.

It’s a sports movie, the fourth one he’s done since 2005 (“Kicking and Screaming” in 2005, “Talladega Nights” in 2006, “Blades of Glory” in 2007). Maybe it’s Ferrell’s intention to make a sports movie every year until he dies, but to me, it’s just rehashing the same story.

Ferrell plays a washed-up popstar/basketball coach/owner/player who is still very full of himself. He yells; he does some slapstick; he thinks he’s sexy, but he’s not. The best part is when the movie starts and the sound of Ferrell singing “Love Me Sexy” fills the theater. After that, the movie became monotonous, predictable and very, very familiar.

The movie was so formulaic that almost everything that happened in “Semi-Pro” had already happened in another Will Ferrell movie.

Charted here:

Will wrestles a wild animal, in this case a bear. — In “Talladega Nights” he wrestles a giant cat.

He’s full of himself. — “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights,” “Blades of Glory,” “Bewitched,” “Old School.”

He yells, a lot. — See above movies, and more.

It’s set in the ’70s. — “Anchorman.”

He gets drunk and hits rock bottom. — “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights.”

This is not an all-inclusive list because I have not seen all of the Will Ferrell movies.

Now, if you liked all the movies mentioned above, you will like this movie, because it’s basically like watching all of those at once. At least in “Anchorman” there were some other funny characters and memorable quotes: “This burrito is good, but it is filling”; “I love lamp.”

Woody Harrelson’s character is shallow and has a bizarre relationship with a woman that is never completely revealed. The audience is left to wonder who that guy is that she lives with and how he’s related to her.

I was excited to see Will Arnett of “Arrested Development” playing someone other than Job in “Arrested Development,” but he didn’t get enough screen time. I will say that the two sportscasters, Arnett and Andrew Daly, were highly amusing.

For the most parts the laughs were cheap and unintelligent. To reveal my bias, I loved “Stranger than Fiction,” in which Ferrell played straight man to the world around him. He yelled, but he was a very real, subdued character. I like real characters who say funny things.

Basically, if you are a straight-up, classic Will Ferrell fan, you need to go see this movie because you will love it. It is Ferrell doing what he does, and people like it, so he keeps making these movies, and that’s fine with me. But if you didn’t like “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights” or “Blades of Glory,” don’t bother going to see this movie.

I’m going to give this 2 stars for people who don’t like Will Ferrell movies, and 4.5 for people who do.

(Opinions expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect those of The Eureka Reporter or its staff.)


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