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Semi-Pro is a 2008 American sports comedy film from New Line Cinema. The film was directed by Kent Alterman and stars Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Maura Tierney, Will Arnett and David Koechner. The film was shot in Los Angelesmarker near Dodger Stadiummarker (in the gym of the Los Angeles City Fire Department Training Center), in Detroitmarker and in Flint, Michiganmarker. It was released in theaters on February 29, 2008, and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 3, 2008..This film was based on what most people do not know was a real NBA-ABA merger.

Plot

Set in 1976, Jackie Moon is a singer who has used the profits from his one hit single "Love Me Sexy", to buy a basketball team in the American Basketball Association, the Flintmarker Tropics, becoming the owner, head coach, and starting power forward. The ABA commissioner announces plans for the ABA-NBA merger with the National Basketball Association, but only four teams will move to the more established league. The Tropics, the worst team in the league, are in danger of dissolving. In response, Jackie argues that the teams with the four best records overall should be merged into the NBA. The commissioner reluctantly accepts Jackie's offer.

Now that the Tropics have somewhat of a shot to be an NBA franchise, Jackie trades away the team's washing machine to the Kentucky Colonels for Ed Monix, former backup point guard for the NBA Champion Boston Celtics. Soon, the commissioner reveals that as well as having a top-four record, the Tropics will also have to have a stable fan base and have an attendance of at least 2,000 fans every remaining game of the season.

Jackie begins to promote wildly by such gimmicks as watching him wrestle a bear after the game. The Tropics begin playing better with Monix, as well as the increased intensity of Clarence "Coffee Black/Sugar Dunkerton/Downtown Funky Stuff Malone" Withers. Monix soon takes over as offensive and defensive coordinators, as well as starting point guard, leaving Jackie merely the title of head coach. Monix trains the team rigorously with a play he calls the "puke", as the players are to run it, without a ball, until they vomit.

From Monix's training, the Tropics go on a winning run, moving them up from last to fifth. Suddenly Jackie, now extremely excited for the possibilities in his grasp, gets a visit from the commissioner. The commissioner tells the team that the NBA does not think that Flint has a large enough media market and will not allow the Tropics into the league even if they beat the first place San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. Distressed, Jackie admits that he stole "Love Me Sexy" from a napkin his mother wrote on three weeks before she died. Now realizing that all his assets, including the team, are basically stolen, Jackie trades Coffee Black to the Spurs so that he may realize his talent in the NBA. Monix inspires the team to leave everything on the court as, while they may not be able to continue the franchise after this season, they have come very far and still have a lot to prove.

Going into the Spurs game, they are in fifth place and with a win they would make it into fourth, although they have no chance in making it into the NBA. The game begins and the Tropics fall behind quickly. In the closing seconds of the first half, Jackie gets fouled hard by Spurs player Petrelli while going up for a shot, and is injured. Coffee Black decides he has seen enough, and rushes in to the Tropics' locker rooms with the rest of the team, which angers the Spurs' players and coach.

During halftime, an unconscious Jackie imagines that he is in heaven with his mother. He apologizes for stealing her song and then she gives him a weapon in order to win the final game of the franchise. Awaking in the locker room, he tells the team what they are going to do to win. Back on the court, the Tropics reveal their new weapon: the Alley-Oop. With the return of Coffee Black, it is very effective and Coffee Black leads the charge back. At first, the referee calls the play a foul, but after some persuasion by Jackie and Monix, is soon convinced that it is a legitimate score. The Tropics take advantage of this new strategy and begin coming back. After the Spurs start defending against the alley oop, Monix then takes charge and calls for them to run "The Puke" with 12 seconds left and down by two points, 115-117. The play gives Jackie the ball, but he gets fouled hard again with two seconds left. Shooting "granny style", Moon sinks the first basket. The second rebounds off and Monix tips it in right at the buzzer for two points to score a victory for the Tropics.

The coach of the Spurs offers Coffee Black a position on the team. The now-former ABA commissioner offers Jackie a position on the staff of the NBA assistant commissioner, as a marketing director. Just as Jackie is about to accept, the commissioner is mauled by the bear Jackie wrestled with earlier.

Cast



Dewie the Bear

The 5-year-old, 7 1/2 foot tall, 700 pound male grizzly bear named Rocky appeared in the film in a scene where Will Ferrell's character wrestles him to promote his basketball team. Stuntman and trainer Randy Miller doubled for Ferrell during the wrestling match with the bear. On April 22, 2008, the bear bit 39-year-old Stephan Miller (Randy Miller's cousin and fellow trainer) on the neck, killing him.

Marketing

  • A number shown in the teaser trailer 1-800-TROPICS, when called played a recorded message of Jackie Moon talking about season ticket packages for the 1976 season.
  • Several ads for Anheuser-Buschmarker were filmed featuring Will Ferrell in character as Jackie Moon that were aired during Super Bowl XLII. Some of the ads touted humorous promotional items with offers expiring in November 1977.
  • A music video was released with Jackie Moon singing his 'hit' "Love Me Sexy"
  • A prescreening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texasmarker two weeks prior to the box office debut featured an appearance by Will Ferrell and director Kent Alterman. In order to obtain entrance to the theater, all viewers had to wear a basketball uniform similar to the one worn by Ferrell in the film.
  • A Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue spread featured Ferrell with Heidi Klum.


Reception

Critical reception

The film received negative to mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 21% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 149 reviews (as of June 23, 2008). Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 47 out of 100, based on 29 reviews.

In his review for The Village Voice, Robert Wilonsky wrote that director Kent Alterman, "valiantly tries to tweak the formula by adding a dash more sincerity and humanity to the froth but doesn't get too adventurous. But in the end, it's comedy comfort food, something powdered poured from a box".

Box office performance

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $15 million in 3,121 theaters in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, holding the number one position at the box office. Alicia Chang of the Associated Press described the opening as "lackluster" compared to Ferrell's previous sports spoofs Talladega Nights, which opened with $47 million, and Blades of Glory, which opened with $33 million. The basketball film went on to gross $33,479,698 domestically and $10,404,532 internationally, for a total of $43,884,230 worldwide.

Awards

2008 ESPY Awards
  1. Best Sports Movie ESPY Award


Home Media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on June 3, 2008. There is a theatrical R-Rated version DVD and Blu-Ray Disc or a 2-Disc "Let's Get Sweaty" Unrated Edition DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Special features include unrated deleted scenes and more.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for the film was released on February 26, 2008 and featured songs by Labelle, WAR, Curtis Mayfield, Will Ferrell, among others. "Love Me Sexy" is sung by the fictional Jackie Moon (played by Will Ferrell). The song was later remixed by rapper Lil Wayne.

  1. "Love Me Sexy" – Jackie Moon
  2. "Get Da Funk Out Ma' Face" – Brothers Johnson
  3. "Lady Marmalade" – Labelle
  4. "The World Is a Ghetto" – WAR
  5. "Tell Me Something Good" – Ronnie Laws
  6. "Mr. Big Stuff" – Jean Knight
  7. "Give Me Just a Little More Time" – Chairmen of the Board
  8. "Why Can't We Be Friends" – WAR
  9. "Walking in Rhythm" – The Blackbyrds
  10. "Dance to the Music" – Sly & The Family Stone
  11. "Love Rollercoaster" – Ohio Players
  12. "Que Sera, Sera " – Sly & The Family Stone
  13. "Move on Up" – Curtis Mayfield
  14. "Shining Star" – Elijah Kelley


See also



References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Basketball_Association
  2. USA Today: Anheuser-Busch brews up batch of Bowl ads
  3. SI.com: Will Ferrell & Heidi Klum
  4. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=semipro.htm


External links




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