Semi-Pro, the Will Farrell box office flop, proves a total waste of film and not even worth your time as one of the worst sports movies ever made with no redeeming qualities. There were maybe two points in the film that I smirked but never once did I laugh during its duration. The film seems to have been made with the sheer intention of marketing Budweiser. You will no doubt recall the Superbowl spots which ran one of a number of ads featuring Farrell, in character, bumbling through the beer commercials’ dialogue with a off screen voice that were just as awful and irritating as the actual feature. Good God, everything about it sucked. I think my old man’s reaction to the film pretty says it all saying “It caused me to lose all faith in movies” and swearing them off for at least a while.
The only memorable thing about this movie besides making my father damn near physically ill was the film’s one-song soundtrack, “Love Me Sexy”, a song that (unfortunately) stays in your head for an incredibly long time it being hummed by your reviewer a month after watching it. On occasion I even find myself singing its atrocious lyrics “Baby wake up, we’re naked.” to everyone’s terror and my better judgment.
The ludicrous plot line runs thus: Jackie Moon (Will Farrell), player/coach/owner/marketing genius, attempts to resurrect his Flint Michigan Tropics (Let’s Get Tropical!) failing franchise by getting fans in the stands. Only thing is, he has clearly never touched a basketball, among other problems. With talk of merger, the owner will do anything to make a buck—e.g. dress his team in tropical themed costumes, shave points to avoid having to give away free corndogs on “Free Corndog Night”, volunteer his wife (who seems to be a real slut sleeping with every Mark Spitz stache in the film yet apparently never letting Moon stick his penis in his whore of a wife) for XXX halftime shows, wrestle a bear, etc.—except learn the basketball basics. This changes after Jackie trades the teams washer for former NBA champ Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson) and led by star player Coffee Black (Andre 3000) aka Clarence Withers/Downtown “Funky Stuff” Malone/Sugar Dunkerton/ Jumping Johnny Johnson the team defects in a mutiny that leaves Monix head coach.
Monix proves to be a real hard-ass despite the fact that he more or less gets everything he wants with complete creative control—respect from fans and players, wins back the girl (Lynn played by the ever lovely Maura Tierney) he cheated on back when he had game , etc. So they start winning games, believing that the NBA will merge with the ABA’s top four teams. This, however, like in real life, never was the case and going into their final game having made a miraculous turnaround from last place are now a half game back from their fourth place goal with a game against the team in that spot, conveniently, the San Antonio Spurs. But as they set to play, they are told that their team is as dead as a doornail no matter the final outcome. Apparently there are no playoffs or trade deadlines/restrictions with Jackie trading his star Coffee Black for God only knows, I suspect either money or a hotdog cart as he’s about to be unemployed. Whatever it was, it wasn’t worth remembering.
So nobody gives a shit and they sure as hell play like it in the first half. With the Spurs up by some quit-at-halftime type sum, some asshole who mysteriously is on every team they play (actually, the opposing teams seem entirely comprised of the same players, sort of like the Washington Generals if they put on different colored uniforms every night and sucked worse than usual) cheap shots Moon (with no flagrant foul shots apparently) and nearly kills him just before heading to the locker-room.
This is when things go from incredibly stupid, witless, and foolish to unbearable and pointless and irresponsible and just plain sad. After his near-death experience, Moon retells his team of his time in Heaven where he just visited with his deceased mother who by the way is an explained black woman who he stole his hit “Love Me Sexy” from after her unfortunate death from which the precedes allowed him to purchase the Flint team. The sage wisdom bestowed from mother to son in the standard heavenly clouds was to use this great new play that would bring the team back from their incredible deficit—the alley-oop. But they don’t have anyone with more than a ten inch vertical; luckily, their athletic former teammate Coffee Black has just traded himself back to the Tropics to finish the year with his former comrades in a reckless career decision that burns all his NBA bridges. For the rest of the game, the Tropics mount a comeback based on Black’s dunks (clearly on a goal that is significantly under the regulation ten feet) from perimeter passes.
Forget the fact that the oop was already in use for at least a decade at that point, even if the play had been revolutionary, don’t you think they would have wised up before the final play of the game? Well, they don’t and down by two the game comes down to the final ticks of the clock whereupon Moon gets fouled and is sent to the line with one second left in play. Moon, who has yet to go to the line all season it seems despite never leaving the floor, shoots granny style to Monix’s utter disgust. The thing about this is that the best free-throw shooter of the era was one Rick Barry who shot underhand which made it at least somewhat acceptable for players at any level. So, of course, he sinks the first one but the second rattles around and out and with no time left Monix flies in and tips it in for the win. They win fourth place, woo-hoo! Who cares? Right?
But the movie goes on for 20 more minutes in which it is revealed that Moon’s wife’s vagina is “for sad people”, Coffee Black or whatever he calls himself at that point resigns with the Spurs, some pot-smoking $10,000 shot winner gets part of his drug purchasing money from the NBA (not too different from what goes on with players in the league today), Monix and Lynn decide to keep getting it on, Moon is offered a high exec job in the NBA but it is dubious whether he actually gets the job since the bear on the loose who he wrestled in a failed publicity stunt attacks the commissioner of the NBA. After the bear attack, Jackie screams “Everybody panic! It’s just like Titanic, but it’s full of bears!” What an appropriate way of ending this piece of shit movie. Mercifully the credits begin to fall.
This is the second of three crappy movies (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan being the first with Fools Gold [sic] as the third) viewed in my week home last month that were so bad they made me wonder what, if anything, some actors won’t put their names to just to make a buck. With that though, one thing is clear, Will Farrell’s popularity has reached a plateau. Soon people will no longer go to see variations of Ron Burgundy and he will end up going the way of Paulie Shore. Do yourself a favor and get a new act, otherwise, people are going to wake up and say “fuck Will Farrell” just like we collectively did with Shore after BioDome. And this is going to happen sooner rather than later.