Semi-Pro: Unrated [Blu-ray]
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Three men three dreams. It s 1976 in Flint Michigan. Jackie Moon s American Basketball Association team languishes in last place with few fans in the seats. Jackie dreams of a merger. with the NBA. A tough minded point guard named Monix is at the end of his career; he s played on the champion Celtics but accepts a trade to Flint to be close to Lynn the love of his life. Clarence Coffee Brown dreams of stardom: he s the Tropics best player but he s a hotDog who doesn t value teamwork. When the trio learns that a merger is in the works that won t include the Tropics they pull the team together to try to achieve the impossible. Can dreams come true in Flint?. Actors: Andre Benjamin - Andrew Daly - Maura Tierney - Will Ferrell - Woody Harrelson. Director: Kent Alterman. Format: Blu-ray. Runtime: 100 mins. Language: English. Subtitle: English Subtitles. Region code: Region 1 (United States Canada Bermuda U.S. territories). Discs: 2. Rating: Unrated. Genre: Comedy. Release Year: 2008.
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Time: The `70s
1. Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one hit wonder who owns, coaches and plays with his basketball team the Flint Tropics.
2. As you would expect, the team isn't doing very well
3. Down and out, but not giving up, Moon negotiates a chance for his team to join the NBA
4. Maybe white men can't jump, but he trades a major appliance for Ed Monnix (Woody Harrelson) anyway
5. Coffee Black (Andre Benjamin) finds his form and soon the team is no longer considered the "OutKast" of the ABA
6. Moon raises the entertainment level to include dancing seahorses and bear wresting at half time
7. After receiving some valuable advice from Patti Labelle, the team almost achieves the predictable.
This is typical Will Ferrell stuff - I'd rate it better than Step Brothers, but worse than Blades of Glory. Ferrell's over the top antics are the main reason for watching this movie, even though at times it's more like morbid fascination. Andre Benjamin is good, even though his impressive afro is even better, and Harrelson? He hasn't changed a bit.
Rent (don't buy) for the basketball, and stay for the half-time show.
Jackie Moon: Everybody panic! It's just like the Titanic but it's full of bears!
The lengths to which Ferrell goes to try to achieve this are outrageous. Woody harrelson is also great as the washed-up ex-nba player who joins the team at mid-season. Great laughs and good repeat value. Recommended to own, as is the case with most of Farrell's movies.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon who made a ton of money from his song "Love Me Sexy". What does Jackie go and do with it? He's buys himself a basketball team in the ABA called the Flint `Michigan' Tropicals. Jackie is a one man show who not only owns the Tropicals, but also coaches them. And to get fans into the stadium, he even promotes them with outlandish themes such as jumping over 10 cheerleaders while he's wearing roller-skates. Then one day it's decided that the ABA and the NBA will merge into one, and that 4 teams will go to the NBA. Jackie convinces them to let the 4 BEST teams go, not the 4 most popular. The commish, to make it harder on the not so popular teams, also says they have to bring in at least 2000 fans each game. So Jackie tries everything from free Corn Dog night to Jackie Wrestles Bear night. There are a decent amount of funny parts in the movie, but in all seriousness, the story is better than the comedy this time around.
To me the comedy seemed extremely forced in some parts. Usually Will Ferrell can just flow comedy out of his mouth without even a problem. But here it seemed he didn't have much help from his supporting cast when it came to impromptu time. Sometimes Will's antics will make you laugh and sometimes you wish Will would just put his comedy on hold for a few minutes so he could be fresh again. Now don't get me wrong though, there are funny parts in the movie. I for one liked the bear wrestling scene and also the interaction between Jackie Moon and the ref that is a priest. But that also has to do with the language that is used and there is a LOT of fowl language coming out of Ferrell's mouth in this movie. MF'r, F That, C-Sucker, and a lot more. I'm sure there will be more on the unrated version, but I have yet to see that one.
I'd also like to say that Andre Benjamin (from the rap group Outkast) did a really good job in this movie playing Clarence `Coffee' Black. The interaction on the bus between him and Woody Harrelson had me cringing in a good way cause I could just feel the tension between the two. Also Andre, with his big fro and all, just seemed like he should've lived in this time. Everything about him just seemed 70's. Great job.
All in all, this is definitely a rent especially if you like Ferrell. It had it's funny parts and a decent story, but I'm not sure if it was enough to actually give this a buy.
This edition is loaded with extras all of which are included on the second disc while the first disc includes both the rated and unrated versions of the film.
There are four deleted/alternate scenes. Sportscaster Dick Pepperfield provides the backstory to Jackie Moon and his team. We see Monix's prologue and how he deals with an obnoxious heckler. In an amusing montage, we find out what happens to all the major characters, which really should have been kept in.
Also included are three improv scenes. We get more the play-by-play banter from Lou and Dick with Will Arnett adlibbing all sorts of raunchy observations. There is also more of Jackie and Dick on the Tropics Weekly TV show which allows Farrell to cut loose with more clueless observations.
"A Short History of the ABA" takes a look at the actual ABA with former players reminiscing about it and clips of vintage footage. There are some interesting factoids that revealed, like how it started the three-point shot and introduced a more colourful, dynamic style of play that was eventually absorbed into the NBA.
"Re-creating the ABA" examines how the filmmakers authentically re-created the look and feel of the era. The cast went through an intensive, four-week training camp in order to be able to play like they did in the `70s.
"'Love Me Sexy': The Story Behind the One Hit Wonder" takes a look at how Jackie's hit song came together. Musician/producer Nile Rodgers worked on the music, which makes perfect sense as his hey day was the `70s, and Farrell adlibbed some of the lyrics at a cast reading. The result is a song that sounds like it could have come from that era.
"Bill Walton Visits the Set" features the NBA legend shooting a cameo for the film. Everyone was clearly starstruck by his presence and he comes across as a humble, affable kind of guy.
"Four Days in Flint" examines the time the film crew spent shooting on location and why they picked that town as the setting for the story.
"The Man Behind Semi-Pro" takes a look at the genesis of the film. Screenwriter Scot Armstrong wanted to write a comedy about the ABA and director Kent Alterman takes us through the production process. Clearly, this film and the subject matter was a labour of love for the two men.
Also included is the "Love Me Sexy" music video with clips from the film and Farrell hamming it up as Jackie.
"Flint Tropics Hot Talk with Dick Pepperfield" includes two clips with Dick interviewing Jackie done in a style that looks like it might've come from the `70s complete with a washed out look that feels authentic.
Finally, there is a teaser, theatrical, and red band trailers.
In Semi-Pro, Ferrell's character, Jackie Moon, has made his fortune thanks to becoming a one-hit wonder as an R&B singer of a song that is featured early in the film, "Love Me Sexy." Love Me Sexy was written for the film and seems to borrow from the styles of the times the movie is set in, in this case the mid '70's. As it turns out, the soundtrack for the movie offers a decent selection of 1970's hit songs and for those who grew up in the era it's a nice reminder of the times.
Jackie takes the money he has made from his hit record and uses it to buy an ABA franchise that he moves from Florida to his own home town of Flint, Michigan (though that isn't explained well in the final cut of the film, and instead you learn that information via deleted and bonus scenes included on the second of the two discs in the Blu-ray package). Jackie's skill set is firmly grounded in choreography and marketing, though as owner of the Flint Tropics basketball team he has given himself a role as a player and coach of the team he owns.
Early in the film we find that Jackie and his teammates, while having fun playing, aren't all that serious as basketball players. The league itself is experiencing financial difficulties, and the Tropics are facing a similar situation. Fans aren't filling the arena, and despite Jackie's best efforts at putting on a show that will get fans to come to the games, the lack of financial stability shows through in background comments from team personnel and announcers that note that they haven't been paid.
Jackie heads off to a league owners meeting where a merger between the ABA and NBA is confirmed. Hearing this news, Jackie gets enthusiastic at the idea of becoming an owner of a team in the NBA only to find that the teams that will be absorbed into the NBA don't include his own. A mini-revolt amongst the team owners (lead by Jackie) results in a vote to have the teams that will be brought into the NBA determined by the standings of the teams in the league. Though the Tropics are mired in the cellar of the league standings, Jackie sees hope in the idea that if he can get his team to perform he may yet be able to keep his team alive.
The rest of the story borrows heavily from various sports films including Major League though several anecdotes from the good old days of the ABA are tossed in for good measure, including the idea that one player (Woody Harrelson's Ed Monix) is traded to another team in exchange for a clothes washer. Can the Tropics improve their record enough to stay in business? Can they raise their attendance enough to seem to be a viable team? You'll have to watch the film to find out.
The sports cliche's are thick, and the jokes aren't quite as plentiful as you would think. Again, mixed in here pretty well is a great deal of respect and admiration for the little league that could, the ABA.
Definitely check out the extras on the second disc, including a short history of the ABA, in doing so you'll gain extra insight into how this film came to be and just what the writer and director were trying to achieve (not that you can't tell from watching the film, but you will likely appreciate the effort all the more after seeing the extras).
Look for cameos from some of the ABA's great players, along with interviews of those same players in the extras.
Language in the un-rated edition is pretty coarse, along with some graphically implied sexual content and sexual innuendo. Easily worth a rental, with extra value for people that remember the ABA or want to learn a little more about the league.
Now, you can't all expect them to be hits with Will Ferrell and this is definitely an example of that. The jokes were tired after a while and while an uplifting story, it just seemed quite dull in comparison to the other comedies that have been recently released. I'd recommend it to die-hard fans of The Frat Pack, but other movie viewers probably won't enjoy it as much.