Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, DeRay Davis, Maura Tierney, Andrew Daly, Will Arnett, Andy Richter, David Koechner, Rob Corddry, Matt Walsh, Jackie Earle Haley, Josh Braaten, Jay Phillips, Peter Cornell, Pat Kilbane, Patti LaBelle, Tim Meadows, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, Ellia English, Ian Roberts, Phil Hendrie, Ed Helms, Brian Huskey, Charlyne Yi, Rashid Byrd, Terrell Byrd, Tyus Tillman, Michael Westphal, Collette Wolfe, MaShae Alderman, Briana Barran, Karen Berg, Charlie Gelbart, Leigha Kinglsey, Kristin Pitts, Jenica Robinson, Erinn Selkis, Sandy Sunshine
Written by: Scot Armstrong
Directed by: Kent Alterman
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content
Running Time: 91
Date: 02/19/2008
IMDB

Semi-Pro (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Trouble Dribble

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Will Ferrell's latest sports-related comedy was a critical and box office flop. People complained about Ferrell making too many of the same kind of movie, even though that's what successful comedians have done throughout the past century. No, I think the real reason for the venom aimed at this film is the newfound profanity that was allowed to creep into Ferrell's childlike persona. His charm has always been an open-hearted innocence, and the lack of adult filters upon his imagination; throwing in profanity made him seem more grown-up and less likeable. Despite that, Semi-Pro stays true to the formula, and it's a pretty funny, good-looking comedy. Set in 1976 in Flint, Michigan, the film tells the story of the ABA team the Tropics, in their last season before a merger with the NBA. Jackie Moon (Ferrell) hopes his team can make the transition to the big time, and so they try to make it to fourth place to be among the top four teams considered. Monix (Woody Harrelson) is his wild card, a former Boston Celtic (mainly a bench-warmer) brought in to boost the team. Clarence "Coffee Black" (André Benjamin) is the team's talented up-and-comer. Jackie isn't much of a player, but dreams up strange promotions to draw in the crowds. He's also the singer of a past one-hit wonder song, "Love Me Sexy." Like other Ferrell comedies, this one is populated with lots of other funny people, including Will Arnett, Andy Richter, Davd Koechner, Tim Meadows and Kristen Wiig. Oscar-nominee Jackie Earle Haley turns up, and the adorable Maura Tierney (looking great in a 1970s-era turtleneck sweater and boots) plays the love interest for Monix. Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut gives the film a unique, harsh look filled with high contrast and startling angles, as opposed to the usual flat look of most American comedies. Newcomer Kent Alterman is the director; isn't it time for Ferrell to direct something of his own?

DVD Details: New Line's DVD comes with the 'R' rated theatrical cut and an 'unrated version' that runs about 8 minutes longer. It mostly contains footage of Jackie Moon's wife (Kate Luyben), a character completely deleted from the theatrical cut. It's the same joke over and over; she's sexy and spends more time flirting with other men than she does with her husband. Amy Sedaris also appears in an outtake (a prologue about Monix's character) and in an improv segment. The two-disc set comes with outtakes and improv, featurettes (including one with Bill Walton), a "Love Me Sexy" video and trailers.