Doing the laundry is hard without a washing machine

Alex Bethke

Alex Bethke

Semi-Pro is a classic Will Ferrell movie that features Ferrell as Jackie Moon. Moon is the one-hit-wonder singing artist who uses his music earnings to own, coach and play for the Michigan-based Flint Tropics.

The Tropics are an American Basketball Association (ABA) team in 1976. When the ABA decides to merge with the more popular and well-financed National Basketball Association (NBA), Jackie believes he has finally done it; he became an NBA owner. To Moon’s dismay, the NBA will only be taking four already selected teams while the remaining teams will be left to “dissolve”. The Tropics are not included in the four. Moon furiously disagrees with the terms and gets the league to allow the four teams with the best record to merge with the NBA at the end of the season. There are still a few problems. For one, the Tropics are not good.

In a bold move, Moon trades the team’s washing machine for a washed-up player named Monix (Woody Harrelson, Kingpin, A Scanner Darkly). Monix’s claim to fame was riding the bench during the Celtics’ championship season. He only accepts the trade because of an old love interest living in Michigan, Lynn (Maura Tierney, ER, Welcome to Mooseport).

Monix and Lynn have a sub-par love story on the side that doesn’t really get too in depth in the film. The movie could have utilized Tierney’s comic ability a little more. However, there are some funny scenes that feature Lynn’s current awkward but comical boyfriend, Kyle (Rob Corddry, The Daily Show). Kyle is a superfan of Monix and finds him in a compromising position.

Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Blades of Glory) and Andrew Daly (What Love Is) provide most of the witty dialogue as commentators Lou Redwood and Dick Pepperfield. Although they may have stolen the idea from Dodgeball, these two are funny both on and off the court; especially during a scene where everyone plays Russian roulette without actually knowing it. Pepperfield is the more professional one with that classic ’70s commentator look while ex-player Redwood is more edgy. While on air, Pepperfield asks Redwood to put out his cigarette. Redwood replies, “No, I like to smoke when I drink.”

André Benjamin, a.k.a. André 3000, plays Clarence ‘Coffee’ Black, the star player for the Tropics. Black and Moon combine to invent a new basketball play that leaves fans speechless and the referee so confused that he calls a foul the first time it happens. Benjamin was a good fit for this role. He has the charisma and voice quality makes him one cool cat.

Some of the funny parts in the movie are brought on by how they use swear words. The use of swear words is really somewhat of an art form in movies. Some movies seem to use them for no reason at all other than so it could be rated R; while other movies use them in a way that is really witty. For instance, Superbad wouldn’t be the same movie if it didn’t use about 2,000 swear words. Semi-Pro doesn’t have nearly that many, but still uses them in a clever way. Actually, this movie has very few swear words, but then when you least expect it someone drops a huge f-bomb that shocks and amazes you. This movie’s sparing use of swear words that makes it funny.

If you’re a Ferrell fan, you will want to see this movie. It’s not a monumental comedy like Old School or Anchorman, but it’s good enough to make the audience laugh like Talladega Nights or Blades of Glory. If you didn’t like those last two, then you may want to skip this one. It’s not the best Ferrell movie, but survives because of his over-the-top acting and mannerisms, which is good enough for me.