Friday, February 29, 2008

Review: Semi-Pro

Of course you don't remember the ABA, but Will Ferrell does, and he has done to basketball what artificial sponges did to authentic sponges. What? What I want to know is why Ferrell's films all have near identical plot structure.
1) Man at the top of his game.
2) Man at the bottom of his game.
3) Man pulls insane gag to get him back to the top.
4) Man back at the top of his game.
I'm not saying it hasn't worked for him, I'm saying it isn't going to work for me anymore...after this film...probably. Jump to read the full review and watch's interview with Ferrell.

Hits The Spot (GOOD): I did very much enjoy TALLADEGA NIGHTS for its pun-heavy humor and Sasha Baron Cohen. I thought that film was a good illustration of how Will Ferrell operates; the humor, the acting and the characters were all a signifier of Ferrell and gang's interpretation of a comedy. Then they did a film called BLADES OF GLORY which I didn't think even deserved the feature film stamp. It was almost as if they got together and said, " Hey, have we made a film about ice skating yet? No? Okay, let's do that then." I liked John Heder and Jenna Fischer in the film, but how dare you subject me to a script that took three nights to write outside of a Bennigan's? SEMI-PRO is the worthy follow-up to TALLADEGA. Them deciding to make it a rated-R flick was a great decision and they really do make use of the rating. Written by Scott Armstrong, who has also wrote OLD SCHOOL and STARSKY AND HUTCH, and directed by the executive producer of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and LITTLE CHILDREN, Kent Alterman
(don't ask me how that collaboration worked), I actually think this film puts out quality material. It is, more or less, just a different iteration of the previous films but I will laugh if some of the regurgitated jokes are funny; it's a fact. Technically, I was impressed throughout and think Alterman and the crew know what they are doing. Some directors try to keep a 60's or 70's look to the film through camera movements like in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and THE BANK JOB, but it didn't happen here as much I wanted it to.
Kicks The Spot (BAD): An ongoing problem I have with many of these films is that the cameras linger too long in front of actors like Will Ferrell in hopes of them doing something incredibly funny. And another thing, I enjoy Ferrell so much more when he's in non-Ferrell films or alongside John C. Riley. Here he shows this vulnerability that none of this own characters ever show. Chazz Michael Michaels, Ron Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, and Jackie Moon, they're all just different versions of Mugatu. Although I enjoyed this film, it makes me think how much funnier it would be if Adam McKay would've co-written.
The Skinny (THE SKINNY): If you indeed were truly disappointed with both TALLADEGA NIGHTS and BLADES OF GLORY, just go play RISK with some friends instead because it's more of the same. If you were like me and liked one and not the other, catch this because it should redeem Ferrell. But regardless of whether you watch this one at all, make sure to definitely go watch STEP BROTHERS with Ferrell and J.C. Riley when that hits theaters July 25th, 2008.

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