Inside the mind of Will Ferrell

Allison Boylan

New Line Cinema’s recently released film “Semi-Pro” centers around Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell), a man who invests his profits from his one-hit wonder “Love Me Sexy” into an American Basketball Association team, the Flint Michigan Tropics, in the 1970s.

As fans and ticket sales dwindle for the ABA, the association decides to close with its four top teams merging with the NBA, so the challenge is on – to make it to fourth place. ­­

While the film provides several laughs and a few hearty chuckles, if you’ve seen “Anchorman,” “Blades of Glory” or “Talladega Nights,” you’ve essentially already seen “Semi-Pro.”

Moon is the same style of character that made up Ron Burgundy, Chazz Michael Michaels and Ricky Bobby – the cocky and irrational buffoon who is surrounded by a world of logic – and is not once phased by it.

Every other character provides a foil for him because he or she has at least a vague concept of reality and the patience to deal with this character.

For a college crowd and the casual moviegoer, the film is perfect. It has jokes that you can see coming from a mile away and obscene visual gags that are still amusing despite how banal they actually are. The movie includes bizarre quips you’ll undoubtedly quote back to your friends.

If you love Ferrell in his other roles and just want to see more of it, then this film is for you.

However, for the future film critics out there, it’s trite and not as inventive as you would expect out of comedic powerhouses like Ferrell, Will Arnett, and Scot Armstrong (writer of “Semi-Pro” and co-writer of “Old School”).

Many of the jokes and visual gags come off as strained or trying too hard to repeat what has worked in the past. This film seems to be trying to recreate the success recipe of “Anchorman” and the like but forgot to turn the oven on.

Most of the comedic elements appear to be going for the shock-value laughs of being obscene or bizarre rather than appreciative laughter for being clever or witty.

The Villanovan recently had the opportunity to attend a press conference with Ferrell himself.

Despite cracking jokes the entire time and providing slightly more entertainment than the film itself, a few real answers slipped past the funny man’s lips:

Which required more preparation: singing for the film or playing basketball?

“Well, it definitely wasn’t basketball. I’m a pretty gifted athlete … but I always wanted to do a basketball movie, so this was a dream come true. I’ve played a lot of basketball, but I’ve never been a ’70s pop singer before.”

Did you listen to a lot of funk records?

“I actually went to a funk camp, conducted by Issac Hayes, up in Vermont. You never get to see Issac Hayes though. He’s always in the other room.”

You have a degree in sports information: What is sports information, and do you use it in your work? What is the next sport you’d like to do?

“It’s a sports journalism degree. I had hopes of becoming a sportscaster. In terms of how it influences these movies, it’s kind of a coincidence that a number of these movies lined up the way they did.

“Talladega Nights” is really more of a cultural film than a sports movie in a way, “Blades of Glory” just came in line after that … and we had talked about doing an ABA movie for a long time. I love the sports genre.”

If you’re an avid fan and have some free time, head out and catch the next showing.

If you’re on a budget, wait for “Semi-Pro” to come to the Connelly Cinema or wait until your roommate downloads it.