Semi-Pro: Extended Version (2008)

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Released 6-Aug-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Multiple
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Music Video
Trailer-3
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 94:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kent Alterman
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Will Ferrell
Woody Harrelson
André Benjamin
DeRay Davis
Maura Tierney
Andrew Daly
Will Arnett
Case ?
RPI ? Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Will Ferrell is one of my favourite comic actors who has appeared in quite a few good movies over the last few years including Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Zoolander, Stranger Than Fiction & the recent Blades of Glory. There have also been some misfires such as Bewitched and Kicking & Screaming. Whilst this new release has some better moments than the two films in the second category it is certainly closer to them than the better films I mentioned to begin with. This project very much strikes me as a project pitched as one thing and then turned into a vehicle for Ferrell by the 'system', but that is only a guess. It veers wildly in tone from an affectionate homage to the American Basketball Association or ABA, a 1970s rival to the NBA, and a Blades of Glory style spoof.

The story of Semi-Pro follows the final season of the ABA focused on one of its teams, the Flint Tropics. The decision has been made that at the end of the season the ABA will merge with the NBA and only the four best teams will join the NBA. The Flint Tropics' owner, coach and star player is Jackie Moon (Ferrell) , a singer who had one big hit and used the proceeds to buy himself a Florida based basketball franchise and move it to the snowy winters of Michigan. The big hit is one of the highlights of the film Love Me Sexy, a very 70s funk/disco Barry White style song. It is hilariously performed by Will Ferrell in cape and huge afro. Jackie is determined that his team will pick themselves up from their lowly table position to finish the season in fourth spot. Accordingly, he does a trade with another team to bring in Ed Monix (Woody Harrelson), a has-been NBA championship player with bad knees. Moon combines coaching the team with trying to promote the games using increasing dumb stunts. The bear wrestling promotion sequence is one of the funniest parts of the film.

One of the biggest issues with this film is that much of the humour is extremely low brow and swearing is rife. I don't really mind these things per se, however, in my book they need to be combined with much more wit that is on show here. Ferrell is his usual amusing self as Jackie Moon especially while engaging in promotional stunts, however, he sometimes seems to be the only actor appearing in a comedy with others such as Harrelson having more drama style scenes. The version included on this DVD is the US unrated cut (with NTSC/PAL speedup reducing it to 94 rather than 98 minutes). The US theatrical cut was 91 minutes. This may explain the gratuitous swearing. On a more positive note, the era has been very well recreated in this film with the hairstyles, basketball outfits, cars and music all expertly created. Music fans will note Patti LaBelle appearing incongruously as Jackie Moon's mother.

This disc 'features' an unskippable piracy warning.

Despite some funny scenes this is not Will Ferrell's best comedy. Fans of 1970s basketball leagues in the US may enjoy it more than I did.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

The video quality is good but nothing spectacular for a new major release title.

The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

The picture was reasonably sharp, however, did not approach the sharpness of the best transfers. Shadow detail was OK but not great.

The colour was very good with no issues to report. The bright colours of the era were well represented.

From an artefacts perspective there were a few jagged edges such as at 65:30.

There are subtitles on this disc in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are clear and easy to read.

There is no layer change in the main feature.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio quality is very good.

This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

The music by Theodore Shapiro and the songs including 'Love Me Sexy' sound great.

The surround speakers was used for music and atmosphere especially during the games.

The subwoofer added bass to the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

A good selection of extras are included. They are all 16x9 enhanced.

Menu

The menu design includes film dialogue, music, animation and a nice design featuring player trading cards.

From the Cutting Room (14:32)

Presented with 5.1 sound. This submenu includes deleted and alternate scenes and a collection of improvisation. The deleted scenes are funnier than those included in the film. The improvisation is not. Worth watching.

A Short History of the ABA (6:50)

Featurette about the real American Basketball Association and its eventual merger with the NBA. Includes interviews with actual ABA players. Worthwhile.

Re-creating the ABA (12:45)

Good featurette about how the crew went about recreating the feel and look of the 1970s basketball league including building the stadium and creating the authentic uniforms.

Love Me Sexy - The Story Behind the One Hit Wonder (5:24)

Another interesting featurette about how the song came into existence and Nile Rogers involvement. Will Ferrell's role in creating the song is also covered.

Bill Walton visits the set (2:40)

About the cameo of ex-NBA star Bill Walton.

Four Days in Flint (5:38)

Behind the scenes featurette covering their on location work in the actual city of Flint, Michigan. Covers reasons behind choosing Flint and the Tropics.

The Man behind Semi-Pro (24:07)

A making-of documentary focused on the director and screenwriter and how the idea developed into a film. Quite Interesting.

Promotions

'Love Me Sexy' Music Video (1:58)

Very funny music video for the song.

Flint Tropics Hot Talk with Dick Pepperfield (1:13, 1:24)

Vintage style TV shows made for the movie.

Trailers

A Teaser, Theatrical Trailer and something called a Red Band Trailer. All amusing and worth watching.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 releases include a one disc version with only the theatrical cut and no extras. The two disc version includes the following items not included on our local release

To my mind, neither of these is enough reason to purchase in Region 1. Go for the cheapest. This film is also available locally on Blu-ray.

Summary

A lesser entrant into the canon of Will Ferrell sporting comedies.

The video quality is good.

The audio quality is very good.

The disc has a good selection of quality extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, July 18, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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