Saturday, May 31, 2008

Semi-Pro DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Hijinks and Hoops Featured in Ferrell Retro Comedy

Will Ferrell brings his bawdy brand of tomfoolery to the world of basketball with this retro comedy, set in the Seventies. He stars as Jackie Moon, the player/coach/owner of the Flint Tropics, a fledgling ABA franchise.
As the film unfolds, his cellar-dwelling team looks like a horrible investment, given that attendance is down due to an economic recession. A ray of hope arrives when the league’s commissioner (David Koechner) announces an impending merger with the NBA.
The catch is that only the four best teams will be included in the deal, and the rest of the struggling clubs will simply be dissolved. So, what passes for tension revolves around whether the Tropics will manage to finish in fourth place by the end of the season.
True to the Ferrell formula, going for the joke trumps plot and character development at every turn, with much of the humor coming courtesy of nonsensical sight gags, slapstick and non-sequiturs, and via period fashion statements as cotton-candy afros, garish color schemes and loathsome leisure suits. Each Tropics team member is patterned after a familiar caricature, from the trash-talking showboat (Andrew Benjamin) to the aging veteran (Woody Harrelson) to the Eastern European import (Peter Cornell).
Kent Alterman makes a decent directorial debut here, though he underutilized a cast packed with comedians (Tim Meadows, DeRay Davis, Charlyne Yi, Rob Corddry and Andy Richter) plus pop diva Patti LaBelle. Not much is asked of them except for wide-eyed reaction shots to Moon’s manic misbehavior. See Jackie urinate on himself in a dumpster! Watch him wrestle a bear, shoot someone else while playing Russian roulette, or almost successfully jump on rollerblades over a long row of cheerleaders! Ouch!
Another goofy spoof strictly for the Ferrell faithful who ostensibly never tire of such bottom-feeding fare.

Good (2 stars)
Rated R for profanity and crude humor.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, improv, “Love Me Sexy – The Story Behind the One-Hit-Wonder” featurette, “Recreating the American Basketball Association (ABA)” featurette, “Four Days in Flint” featurette, “The Man Behind Semi-Pro” featurette, behind the scenes footage with Bill Walton, Bob Costas and movie character Dick Pepperfield, “Love Me Sexy” music video, and theatrical teasers and trailers.

No comments: