Blu-ray Review: Semi-Pro (Two-Disc Unrated 'Let's Get Sweaty' Edition)
By Jeff Swindoll Jun 2, 2008, 13:40 GMT
Will Ferrell stars in Semi-Pro an outrageous comedy set in 1976 against the backdrop of the maverick ABA - a fast-paced wild and crazy basketball league that rivaled the NBA and made a name for itself with innovations like the three-point shot and slam dunk contest. Ferrell plays Jackie Moon a one-hit wonder who used the profits from the success of his chart-topping song "Love Me Sexy" to achieve his ...more
“You calling me a jive turkey?”
Will Ferrell takes to another sport to perform his comedy rim shots, but he was funnier when it was figure skating. The 1970s are recreated in a funny fashion but there are too few laughs. This film may be the first of his to be called for traveling at the box office.
Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) had a hit single called “Love Me Sexy” and he used the profits to buy the Florida Tropics and moved them to Flint, Michigan. He becomes the owner, head coach, and starting forward, not to mention the flamboyant promoter of the team.
His best player is Clarence “Coffee” Black (Andre Benjamin), when he’s not shooting commercials for the local Flint pet shop. The ABA, American Basketball Association, announces that it’s going to merge with the NBA, National Basketball Association. At first the ABA Commissioner (David Koechner) says that only the four teams with the most attendance are going to make it to the NBA, but Jackie has a fit and with the support of some of the other owner’s its decided that the teams to make it to the top four spots of the league championship will make the cut.
So in hopes of making fourth position Jackie trades the team’s washing machine for Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson), who used to play for the Celtics (well, he rode the bench for the Celtics). Now all they have to do is make it to fourth place, but with this team and Jackie’s concern more about his wallet that might not be so easy.
Semi-Pro is one of Ferrell’s box office bombs grossing much less than Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory and has only grossed about what those films made in their opening weekends. It’s easy to see why as both of those films featured much more consistent laughs. There are only a few to be found in Semi-Pro even if it is a competently made film.
It does feel like the filmmakers get the proper seventies vibe and references. They say that the film is a valentine to the ABA, which actually did exist until merging with the NBA.
Ferrell’s comedy starts to wear thin in this one and it almost feels like he’s on autopilot. I don’t think it’s as bad as some of the other critics made it out to be but don’t expect Blades or Talladega. You begin to wonder if the production fell under some sort of curse with its box office failure and the trained bear used in the film killing its trainer.
Semi-Pro is presented in 1080p anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Disc one contains both the theatrical and the uncut “let’s get sweaty” edition.
Disc two contains the special features, the majority in high-definition. “From the Cutting Room” contains 15 minutes of deleted scenes and improves, including an alternative opening and ending. “Behind the scenes” contains a selection of featurettes. The 7-minute “A Short History of the ABA” is about the organization.
The 12-minute “Re-creating the ABA” shows how the filmmakers paid tribute to and got the feel of the organization. The 5-minute “Love Me Sexy” is about how the tune came to be. The 3-minute “Bill Walton visits the set” has the NBA legend showing up to trade hoops with Ferrell. The 5 minute “Four days in Flint” shows the production shooting in Michigan.
The 23-minute “The Man behind Semi-Pro” is a making of feature. “Promotions” starts off with the 2-minute “Love Me Sexy” music video. Next are 2 minutes of “Flint Tropics Hot Talk with Dick Pepperfield” (1 minute with the ball girls, and 1 minute about pancakes and camels), these are the only items in standard definition.
There’s also the teaser trailer (46 seconds), theatrical trailer (2 minutes), and the red band trailer (2 minutes). Finally, you get the “Super Ability Trainer” which turns out to be a basketball themed version of Pong.
Semi-Pro falls short of the big leagues, but there’s a laugh or two. It’s not up to snuff with Ferrell’s other efforts and it would seem to put a bump in his box office winning streak.