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Semi-Pro Review

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1976. The American Basketball Association announces that it’s making way for the NBA, and only the top four teams will fold into the new professional league. It’s devastating news for the languishing Flint Michigan Tropics, particularly their player/manag

★★★★★

We need a moratorium placed on the stage direction “Will Ferrell does something funny here.” We’re not suggesting Ferrell isn’t funny, but this isn’t Saturday Night Live, and audiences deserve tighter quality control than this basketball comedy delivers.

With a script as lazy as its characters, it coasts for the majority of its time on smirksome gags (mostly how ludicrous the ‘70s were), but has few real laughs – although the exception does involve wrestling a bear.

If they’d really pushed the story, or stuck closer to the real-life crazy antics of the ABA, they could have had something.

Instead, Harrelson gets saddled with the straight role, Will Arnett is marginalised as a chain-smoking, heavy drinking commentator (his co-host, played by Andrew Daly is great, if filling in for Steve Carrell), and Andre Benjamin isn’t given much to do. Killer soundtrack, though.

Another lesson in how difficult it is to come up with an Anchorman or Hot Rod, and that “making up crazy stuff on the day” will only get you so far. Semi-Pro isn’t painful, but it’s a very minor credit for everyone involved.

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