Will Ferrell has made a career out of sports comedies, and it's high time he made a dud. Semi Pro is not a dud. But it is a little wobbly in parts, which is probably a good sign that perhaps this genre needs a bit of a break for now. It's the 1970's, and Jackie Moon (Ferrell) has taken his profits from his number one single 'Love You Sexy' and purchased American Basketball Association team the Flint Tropics. he's not just the owner, and he's not just the coach: he's also their star player - not their best player, that would be 'Downtown' Malone (Andre 3000). But when the ABA announces that it';s merging with the NBA, and the Tropics aren't making the cut, Moon throws a hissy fit until the rules are changed so that it's the top four finishing teams that'll survive. But the tropics still stink, so Moon hires championship player Ed (Woody Harrelson), who really seems to have come in from another, straighter movie as he has his own subplot about coming back to town to win back his old girl (who's current man loves Ed the player so much he doesn't care what they get up to) while Moon's off wrestling a killer bear. But being all over the place is what gets this film over the line, as the weird tone swings somehow keep things fresh even as some of the funnier characters (notably Wil Arnett's surly sports commentator) are sidelined towards the end. And the comedy is pretty good too, most notable a gun-toting card game scene early on that's a sure-fire classic. Fans of foul-mouthed comedy swearing will be especially happy with a lot of the dialogue here; the family that hurried their little kids out of the screening I saw can attest to that.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #423)