Release Date: Feb. 29
Director: Kent Alterman
Writer: Scot Armstrong
Cinematographer: Shane Hurlbut
Starring: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Will Arnett, André Benjamin
Studio/Run Time: New Line Cinema, 90 mins.
The best way to decide whether Will Ferrell's latest vehicle (for his chest hair, of course) might be worth your time is to peruse the following list
. These are things the film finds uproariously funny, especially in combination; those who disagree will likely find the movie barely more appealing than pet vomit. Here goes: the '70s, afros, white guys with afros, goofy names, vintage clothes, bears, giant cardboard checks, men shouting, priests who referee sports, sports being played badly, the words "fuck" and "cock."
This outing tells the story of Jackie Moon (Ferrell) and his Flint, Mich. Tropics, an American Basketball Association team that faces dissolution when the league merges with the NBA. Jackie's a huckster and buffoon, but not much of a basketball player. He recruits the washed-up Monix (Woody Harrelson) to bolster a lineup with only one strength, the showboating Clarence 'Coffee' Black (André Benjamin).
Semi-Pro is very proudly R-rated, so for some there might be a thrill to watching this cast curse loudly and generally act like jerks, but haven't we been down that road before? With the rating's leeway, Ferrell & Co. often just go for the easy dick joke instead of reaching for the bizarre and subversive heights of Anchorman.
Will Arnett and Andrew Daly light up their scenes as a drunk commentator and his straight-laced professional partner respectively. And there is one fantastically funny scene involving Rob Corddry and voyeurism, but it would be a crime to spoil that one.
Otherwise, the movie is a mix of sloppy timing and jokes predicated on the delivery that made Anchorman's "scotchy, scotch, scotch line" quotable for precisely 30 seconds. Semi-Pro is a broadly recycled piece of garbage that would be funnier if it didn't repeat the same material that brought success to its predecessors. Maura Tierney often looks truly embarrassed to be caught up in this third-stringer, but she's not the one that should be feeling the flush of shame. That's reserved for Ferrell, who has been and still might be so much better than this.