‘Semi-Pro’ provides adequate laughs, weird characters

Will Ferrell’s latest foray into the goofball sports-comedy genre may indicate that he is going to that too many times. Fortunately, Semi-Pro delivers just enough to get by.

As the Flint Tropics’ owner, coach and starting forward, Jackie Moon (Ferrell) seems to have found a haven for his unique mixture of promotion and sports.

His livelihood is threatened when the basketball league announces they will be dissolving at season’s end, taking only four teams to their new league. Through a standard twist of sports-comedy fare, the league agrees to let the teams with the top four records join the NBA.

Semi-Pro forgoes actual basketball scenes and instead focuses on its large cast of strange characters. There are random bits throughout the film such, as a bear fight and a referee who doubles as a priest, but enough of the jokes earn a chuckle that the whiffs can be overlooked.

When the movie turns serious, it wastes time on an out-of-place romance thread involving a washed-up player (Woody Harrelson).

But Ferrell’s character is a decidedly good person (his motto is “everybody love everybody”), which is a rarity in this genre.

Anyone looking for a serviceable comedy can do worse than Semi-Pro.

Gabe Habash may be contacted at s.habash1@umiami.edu.