An amateur effort

If there is anything Semi-Pro does incredibly well, it lies within its utilization of its R rating. If it possesses any other qualities at all, it is definitely its ability to leave you staring blankly at the screen, wondering why you are sitting there. Will Ferrell can be incredibly funny at times, but unfortunately this is not the case here.

As Jackie Moon in the 1970s, Ferrell’s character is the owner, coach, and power forward of the Flint Tropics. The American Basketball Association is struggling but on the verge of merging with the NBA. The NBA agrees to take four teams, but the Tropics can’t make the cut. After throwing a fit of rage, Moon demands the four top teams should be merged, to which the owners (most reluctantly) agree to. One problem, though: the Tropics are the worst team in the league. To help their one star player (Andre Benjamin as Clarence “Coffee” Black), Moon trades for Monix (Woody Harrelson) in order to keep the team from being dissolved.

Though the story may not have been the most original around, Semi-Pro manages to mangle whatever potential the movie may have had very, very quickly. Close to every other line is a supposed insanely funny joke. The lines are not completely absurd, but are simply trying far too hard to be funny. Not only that, but there is an attitude to the jokes, so to speak, that present one very clear message: these jokes are funny, and we know it.

Unfortunately for the jokes, this cocky attitude is completely unjustified. The jokes perhaps will only suit those who are incredibly easy to entertain or other types who need “help” to see a movie like this.
Another unnecessary aspect of the movie revolves around Monix. Everything that takes place in the locker room is just fine, but the barely-there off-court story is a complete waste. Without spoiling too much, Monix has a pre-existing ruined relationship with a woman from Flint, one he is trying to rekindle. Apparently it was not enough to leave it underdeveloped, but they deemed it necessary to use the side-story primarily for one stupid joke.
Some of the jokes may be worthwhile, but for the wrong shock reasons. It also is not quite the “Anchorman”-“Kicking and Screaming”-“Talladega Nights” mash-up you may expect going into it, but it manages to be nearly as bad as that. If you really must spend your money so wastefully, check this out, but you will be much better served renting some other, older, more regarded comedy that will be worth your while.

1.5 out of 4 stars