Reviewed by Steven Frith

My Comedy Movie Standard – Old School

Viewed on: 2/25 and again on 2/29

Sticking to the formula of “Will Ferrell as ________,” this comedy about the final season of the ABA, while not a classic, is still a comedy that will make you laugh.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000 from Outkast), Andy Richter and Maura Tierney

Rating/Length: R / 1 hour 30 minutes

Directed By: Kent Alterman (no major previous direction that I could find)

Written By: Scot Armstrong (Old School, Road Trip, The Heartbreak Kid)

Synopsis: Former one hit wonder musician, Jackie Moon, is the owner, coach, and player of the soon-to-be defunct American Basketball Association’s
Flint (Michigan) Tropics. In order to survive as a team and make the move to the NBA, the Tropics find out midseason that they must escape from last place and finish in the top 4 of the league. Madness and antics (as only a Will Ferrell movie can do) ensue.


Honest Opinion: Semi-Pro was exactly what I expected - Will Ferrell bringing his offbeat, random comedy back to the 70’s as in Anchorman. But unlike Anchorman (as well as Old School), Semi-Pro fails to live up to the comedy expectations that many now expect of Ferrell. However, I do have to say that this was much better then both Blades of Glory and Kicking and Screaming.

The biggest difference between Anchorman or Old School and Semi-Pro may have been the main supporting cast. Woody Harrelson and Andre 3000 are just not the first guys I would think of to have in a comedy. I’m not saying either did a bad job, but they just didn’t bring the laughs as much as you would like for a movie like this. Other Will Ferrell regulars make appearances throughout the movie, but none have what you would consider a significant part. All that being said, I did laugh my ass off during most of the movie and there are plenty of one-liners for you and your drunk friends to recite.

On a side note, making this movie R-rated probably hurt it in the box-office more than anything. They obviously threw some cussing in there because they could, but (even though I know it can) it didn’t really help the movie this time. The movie would have still been just as funny had they made the movie fit in the PG-13 rating. That way, all the 15 year-old-boys (who Ferrell’s comedy seems to appeal to the most) would be able to see it in theatres without parental permission.

Directing: Directing a comedy shouldn’t be that hard, I (without any experience I will admit) would think that in a movie like this, it is a matter of not screwing it up more than doing a good job. By not screwing up, Alterman did a good enough job to let Will Ferrell do his thing and kept what story there was moving.

Writing: I’ve always wondered how much of Will Ferrell movies are written and how much of it is improvised. There were obviously scenes that were written and Armstrong can make you laugh by himself as well. As far as the story goes, there wasn’t much of one, but it at least kept you interested enough to see what would happen next. No major plot turns to speak of, and nothing overly creative (although I did like what Jackie dreamt for in the final game).

Acting: I thought the acting was fine. I feel like some of the characters (such as Woody Harrelson and most of the basketball team) were miscast. While Harrelson was fantastic as a comedic actor in Kingpin, he just didn’t have “it” in this movie. I don’t know if it was because he’s older, just doesn’t fit in this type of comedy, or what – but he just seemed awkward. Andre 3000 was just okay, but I think he actually would have fit better had someone else been there to play Harrelson’s character. I needed more comedy from one of those two characters. Maybe the casting director was just trying to find guys that could actually play basketball as Woody and Andre 3000 are known to be able to do.

Music: I actually really enjoyed the soundtrack. There were a lot of fun 70’s songs if you like the Earth Wind and Fire, War, and Ohio Player hits. I also really liked and actually downloaded Will Ferrell’s (or should I say Jackie Moon’s) song from the movie. It had a surprisingly catchy beat and is pretty funny, check it out on iTunes.

To Quote the Movie: “In the anals of history, people are going to be talking about three things: the discovery of fire, invention of the submarine, and the Flint, Michigan Mega Bowl.” – Jackie Moon

Verdict: DEPENDS – If you like Will Ferrell movies, it is worth the $10 price of admission. If you didn’t really like any of his old ones, this movie isn’t going to convert you, so go ahead and wait for DVD.

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