Fri February 29, 2008
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory were a mild surprise to me: amusing but not hilarious. Will Ferrell carries those pix with a bit of graceful irony. He plays the star, with his usual good-hearted silly self-delusions, mostly that he's a super star when actually he's a shlub.
Semi Pro is a bastard child of these satires, hardly humorous but of the same family. Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, the ABA Flint Michigan Tropics coach, player, and owner in the checkered-pants seventies attempting to win his team a berth in the NBA. He's more a promoter than any of his other roles, the kind who would wrestle a bear or fly like a roller-skating Evel Knievel over a string of cheerleaders to get an audience in his stadium. None of the stunts is remotely funny.
Only one scene has sustained laughs, where the players are gambling and tossing around a gun, roulette style. The scene does play better than it sounds because the gun may be loaded, and in this kind of film, nobody dies.
I'm struggling to say something here to let you know your film critic can see a hidden artistic treasure, but alas I find none. Although sports don't interest me as a spectator, you'd think I would revel in a spoof. Not even I can find a laugh in this loser.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com