Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover is so funny. I love it. I rarely, if ever say that! The crazy image of Farrel with an afro and in his basketball getup, it’s just funny.
The menu is excellent! I know, how shocking! It’s got basketball trading cards with the chararcters from the movie on each one and a funny description. It’s bold and fun and it totally fits the movie, so I’m giving it high praise indeed.
- The Story Behind The One Hit Wonder Featurette – The song “Love me Sexy” that Farrell’s character sings is so crazy, but they made a huge effort to make it authentic 70’s groove and this is how they did it.
- Recreating The American Basketball Association Featurette – Now this is an excellent feature. I didn’t even know the ABA existed, so I was educated and entertained at the same time. This is a documentary style feature with talking heads going over the history of the ABA and how they got the whole thing put into a comedy flick this many years later.
- Four Days In Flint Featurette – Flint Michigan became home to the cast and crew for few days adn since the movie takes place there it took on a certain personality of its own. This is a short but pretty cool extra about how the director enjoyed working there.
- The Man Behind Semi-Pro Featurette – The director is a guy who has had a long term affair with basketball all they way back to the ABA, so this is the perfect movie for him to debut his directorial skills with. This is an excellent feature about the whole process of making the movie along with more information about the ABA. It made me realize even more why I liked the movie as much as I did. It seemed to me that it was made with a certain kind of affection and it shows in the details and the overall tone of the movie.
- Love Me Sexy Music Video – The song is funny, but the video is just a commercial for the movie.
- Teasers & Trailers – ho hum
- Blu-Ray Exclusive Brill Walton Visits The Set Bonus Footage – A veteran of the early ABA and NBA days. Walton comes to the set, plays some one on one with some of the cast and crew. He even has a bit part in the movie.
- Blu-Ray Exclusive Super Agility Trainer Interactive Game – Ohhh Pong lovers rejoice!!! This is a full on basketball pong game you can play endlessly one little square basketball hit with a long white bar at a time. (ok, it’s pretty fun!)
Escape to a time and place where afros, disco, brown, and orange were all the rage. That’s right kids, the 70’s. Semi-Pro, for its short list of flaws, and occasional eye rolling push in the direction of “that’s not funny, it’s just silly”, this movie really delivers as authentic a period look at that roller-skating decade as any dramatic movie has in recent years.
That’s just the beginning of what I liked about Semi-Pro. I rate it pretty high on the scale for the fact that it’s got all the goods to make me have a great time as a movie watcher. It’s not a classic and it has it’s ugh moments, but for what it is, it’s pretty high on my scoring range.
I’m a fan of Will Ferrell, not all the movies he has done mind you, but I am a fan of him. I like his style, his weirdness, his something-or-other I can’t describe. So, how does this factor in a movie review? Well, I have seen Talladega Nights, and my fondness for Ferrell didn’t win me over enough to enjoy it. I didn’t love the ice skating flick with Napoleon Dynamite, therefore I can say I’m not swayed by the glitz and glory that is Will Ferrell.
That being said, Semi-Pro is all Ferrell, and all good in my book. It has it’s moments where I was thinking, “Come on, this has more pure goof factor than comedy.” But those didn’t add up to much in the end.
I enjoyed the cast, and with so many big names I won’t go into each one, but let’s just say it’s kind of a fun fest for a lot of comedy heavy hitters. I didn’t find anyone to be boring or underwhelming, just a few who I don’t find funny any other time and this was no exception. Again, there weren’t enough of those blah bits and pieces to add up to a real complaint, and trust me, I’m the queen of making complaints! If I can overlook the things I don’t like, that just means the things I did like were that much more entertaining, more fun, and made the movie that much better.
This movie shows the showmanship, the flash, the camp, the entertainment element that these small teams had to bring to there game just to get people to fill the stands. Semi-Pro is mad cap and does have whacky things like bear wrestling to keep it in the comedy zone, but it also has Woody Harrelson who has a strange groundedness about him that keeps one foot on the ground while the rest of the movie has it’s fun being fairly fluffy.
Andre 3000 is excellent. I didn’t plan to discuss the cast, but I need to add that. I have liked him in everything I’ve seen him in already and this time he does a great job of being the straight man to the comedy of Will Ferrell, and he plays basketball (learned for this movie), and just has a certain presence that adds a load of personality to the movie.
The story hinges on a one-hit-wonder singer who bought a failing ABA team in Florida, moved them to Flint Michigan and now he’s facing bankruptcy along with the threat of the ABA being dissolved into the NBA.
What is the ABA, American Basketball Association. It was a real thing. This story isn’t based on a true tale, but it’s about the time when the ABA did get gobbled up by the NBA and it’s a nostalgic, endearing look at the culture of those early days of basketball. I think it was all done in a way that pays homage to the simpler times, but gives great credit to the innovations and contributions of those players and teams before basketball became the monolith of the sporting world that it is today.
With the authentic story foundation, the look, the music, the cast, the costumes, the fun factor, Semi-Pro is one of the best entertainment offerings of the year so far.
Audio & Video (By Ascully) 9/10
Semi-Pro comes to Blu-Ray in style. This is one of the most colorful and interesting looking movies I have seen in a while. The whole film is set in the 70’s and mostly on the basketball court so it allows the format to shine with high detail scenes and superb color reproduction.
There are a couple of darker scenes that seem a bit murky but they are few and far between and the rest of the movie looks incredible.
We had a little epiphany this week. When we went to see Indy 4 on the cinema. My wife and I realized that our projector at home with a good Blu-ray disc is much better quality than the local fleapit theater, so if you are holding off on buying a Blu-Ray player I think its a good investment right now if you have a decent TV.
As always, Newline chose to use the DTS Master Audio format which I totally prefer over Dolby Digital HD. There is a ton of action in the surround speakers in this movie and the audio never misses a beat. (he he BEAT get it). Overall this is a pristine movie on Sony’s new HD format I would recommend it over the DVD if you have the means.
I would buy this DVD if it was $12, but it’s not. Until then I say get your hands on it as a DVD rental or online. It’s great fun and if you are a fan of anyone in the cast, it will make you laugh that much more.
Overall Score 8/10