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Semi-pro

A grand idea
By TOM MEEK  |  February 27, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
SEMI-PROINSIDE
Semi-Pro

This Will Ferrell send-up attempts to do for bush-league basketball what Bull Durham did for baseball and Slap Shot for hockey. It’s a grand idea, set in the ’70s, as the ABA is on the brink of imploding, with a few of the remnants (the Nets and the Spurs) being taken into the NBA. Ferrell’s Jackie Moon is owner, coach, and power(less) forward of the Flint (Michigan) Tropics. Although the team is Moon’s ultimate vanity project, he’s sensible enough to bring in ABA legend and one-time Celtics benchwarmer Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson) when the Tropics must rise from last place to fourth to make the NBA cut. The nostalgic backdrop goes far (funk ballads and ’fros galore), but first-time director Kent Alterman doesn’t know whether to play this one from the heart or for raunchy laughs: there’s plenty of sass, not enough soul. Harrelson and André Benjamin as the Tropics’ marquee player provide the latter while Ferrell hams his way to the hoop. 97 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Circle/Chestnut Hill + suburbs
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