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PCR #415 (Vol. 9, No. 10) This edition is for the week of March 3--9, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Semi Pro"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and Andre’ Benjamin
Directed by: Kent Alterman
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Has anyone seen Will Ferrell? Or should I ask if anyone has missed seeing Will Ferrell? Between showing up on every magazine cover, appearing in a Super Bowl commercial and even showing up down the road in Manhattan, Kansas a couple of weeks ago, it was pretty hard to miss him. All of these appearances were to promote his latest film, “Semi Pro.” One wishes he would have put more energy into the film than he put into his promotional schedule.

Jackie Moon (Ferrell) is a one-hit wonder musician from the 1970s. He took the money from his million-selling love ballad and purchased the Flint Michigan Tropics, an under-achieving team in the old American Basketball Association (ABA). As owner, coach and player, Jackie spends his days planning promotions and nights playing power forward. Try as he might (free gerbil night, free corn dog when the team scores 125 points) his ideas usually backfire (“!0 cent beer night turns ugly” screams one newspaper headline). At a league meeting, Jackie learns that the NBA has decided to let four ABA teams merge with it. Sensing the low drawing/poor playing Tropics don’t have a chance, Jackie gets the owners to agree that the four best teams by virtue of their records will join the NBA. Now he has to convince his team.

A hit-and-miss comedy, “Semi Pro” does have some pretty funny moments. Unfortunately, it also has some pretty stale ones. As Jackie Moon, Ferrell sports a big curly fro that looks like it could have been borrowed from Robert Reed during the last season of “The Brady Bunch.” Knowing his team needs help, Jackie relinquishes the coach's reigns and hired former NBA player Monix (Harrelson) to help turn the team around. Harrelson, who played basketball hustler Billy Hoyle in “White Men Can’t Jump” still has some game, as does Benjamin, who plays Clarence “Coffee” Black, a young man with a dream. Though seldom seen, when the team is on the court, the film flows nicely. The rest of the time it feels like the director decided to push a huge combination of things in one frame, often losing the joke he was trying to play up. The cast does, though, rise above the top (or bottom) of some situations and keeps the film on the positive side of funny. A quick note that the film certainly earns its R rating, with some of the language actually taking away from the fun.

A comedy that occasionally tries too hard, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Semi Pro”

This week's movie review of "Semi Pro" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.