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Column: Ferrell’s Jackie Moon too familiar


March 4, 2008

Whether you think Will Ferrell is a comedic genius or a one-joke actor, you can’t deny that the man can take a seemingly simpleminded concept and turn it into an hour and a half of entertainment.

If he’s punching a bear or wetting himself in a dumpster, Ferrell goes to all different lengths to turn “Semi-Pro” into something more than what it really is.

If Ferrell weren’t a part of the film it would be nothing more than box office mediocrity, which says a lot about Ferrell’s ability to stretch out a joke that should grow tired after 20 minutes.

It’s the ‘70s and Jackie Moon (Ferrell) is owner, coach and player of the woeful Flint Michigan Tropics.

When news spreads that the American Basketball Association — to which the Tropics belong — is merging with the NBA, Moon must lead his team to a fourth place finish in order to be absorbed.

When it really comes down to it, “Semi-Pro”’s plot is as short as Moon’s basketball shorts.

When the film isn’t on the court, it drags on with lame subplots involving the other members of the Tropics (Woody Harrelson and Andre Benjamin to be specific).

While the film has plenty of quotes that will likely adorn college student’s Facebook pages, “Semi-Pro” lacks the big comedic scenes of Ferrell’s previous endeavors.

Instead of large spurts of belly laughs, you get consistent yet mild chuckles.

A lot of people will complain that Ferrell’s Moon is no different from his Ron Burgundy, Chazz Michael Michaels or Ricky Bobby, and he isn’t, but is that necessarily such a bad thing?

While Ferrell’s characters are very much the same, they never fail to produce laughs.

Ferrell plays the same character so much because he’s just that good at it. The same worked for John Belushi.

It’s because of this that Ferrell and Belushi are so iconic in the comedy world.

Ferrell’s talents aside, “Semi-Pro” has a lot of flaws.

The script seems to rely too heavily on Ferrell to carry the comedy that when he isn’t onscreen the energy of the movie dies instantly.

Will Arnett, Andrew Daly and Rob Corrdry turn in some decent side comedy, but without Ferrell, “Semi-Pro” throws up a lot of bricks.

But Ferrell fans should fear not, because the preview for he and John C. Reilly’s “Step Brothers” which precedes “Semi-Pro” will certainly ensure that audiences will be laughing again soon.

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