Semi-Pro (2008)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Like the setting

Wish the movie pushed it further

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Semi-Pro

Studio:  Mosaic Media Group

Genre(s):  Comedy/Sports

Release Date(s):  February 29, 2008

MPAA Rating:  R


Witness his glorious form!

It is 1976 and the Flint Tropics of the American Basketball Association are barely scraping by.  Owner, player, and coach Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) gets news that the ABA is merging with the NBA, and only four teams from the league are going to survive the merger.  Now Jackie is up against the wall and must bring in a ringer named Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson) to help the team make waves in the league.  As the time is ticking down, can the Tropics turn their game around to be fourth place?

Directed by Kent Alterman, Semi-Pro is a sports comedy in line with Will Ferrell’s other sports comedies like Blades of Glory and Talladega Nights.  The movie was received poorly from critics and did not fare as well as some of Ferrell’s other hits.  The movie was also the final film released by New Line Cinema before it fell under Warner Brothers.


Man vs. Bear

Semi-Pro isn’t very good but it does have its moments.  With many Will Ferrell films, the movie is relying heavily on Will Ferrell’s physical comedy and over-the-top performances.  Despite Ferrell’s attempts, the movie falls flat.

The story of Semi-Pro just isn’t as engaging as other Ferrell movies.  I have a little personal interest invested in the movie in that I’m from Indianapolis and the characters “goes there” (they didn’t shoot anything here) and the Pacers are mentioned a number of times.  If this is the only reason for me to be half-way interested in the movie, other viewers must have really struggled (and no, the Alley-Oop was already around though it did rise to prevalence again in the mid-seventies due to the return of the slam dunk to the NCAA in 1976).


There is basketball in Heaven!

As mentioned, though he tried, Will Ferrell just can’t carry this movie.  Some of Jackie’s exploits are fun and I love that his mother is Patti LaBelle for no reason.  Woody Harrelson returns to his basketball roots but is criminally underused as Ed Monix.  André Benjamin could have been fun as Clarence Withers or “Black Coffee” but doesn’t get enough play.  The movie also has small roles and cameos by Will Arnett, Andy Richter, Maura Tierney, Jackie Earle Haley, Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, and Rocky the Bear who later killed his handler Stephan Miller in 2008.


Rock that ’70s look!

Visually, I do like some of the stuff the movie does.  I like the ’70s funk stuff but wish they had pushed if farther.  If they had stylized the movie with an older look (like maybe Black Dynamite or even Grindhouse), I think this movie would have been a lot more fun.  Instead, you get an average movie that just isn’t very memorable.

Semi-Pro is probably one of Will Ferrell’s weaker films from this period of his career, and it does show that he needs to do something more than just be the loud Will Ferrell character that developed on SNLSemi-Pro isn’t the worst film you’ll ever see and you probably will have a couple laughs, but you could do better with a lot of other films.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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