No huge laughs in Ferrell's foul-mouthed comedy.
  • Review Date: June 2, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Male characters drink, smoke, and joke about women as sexual objects. But Monix proves that the love of a sport and playing unselfishly is more important than fame or personal glory.


A few scenes of the Tropics getting into fights with other teams. A bear runs loose and attacks a couple of people, but in a humorous way. There's also an extended gun-play scene where characters take turns pointing and shooting what they think is an unloaded handgun at each other.


Monix discusses cheating on his ex-girlfriend with two girls in one night. Monix and Lynn have sex (mostly dressed) on a couch. When Lynn's significant other catches them, he's unexpectedly aroused; he sits down to watch and then unbuckles his belt (masturbation is implied, but not shown). Jackie tells the Tropics cheerleaders he wishes he had slept with some of them. Jackie tells the audience a player is proudly "VD free." Someone is called a "boner machine."


Nearly every sentence includes "f--k" or a derivative (including the one that starts with "mother"). Other words said very often include "c--k," "c--ksucker," "ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," etc.


Not that much in the movie: Cadillac, the ABA, and the NBA. But in real life, Ferrell's character is endorsing products like Bud Light and Old Spice.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters are shown smoking and drinking in many, many scenes. Most of the alcohol is hard liquor, with a few beers thrown in the mix. One fan who's called a "dirty hippie" looks high.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that lots of kids are huge fans of Will Ferrell comedies, particularly the goofy sports ones. This one has more strong language than some of Ferrell's other movies (nearly every scene includes some creative use of "f--k" and its many derivatives), as well as the requisite sex jokes (including one sex scene between a mostly dressed couple) and outrageous behavior (fighting a bear to promote a basketball game). There's also an aggressive off-screen promotion in which Ferrell's character pitches Old Spice and Bud Light in commercials.

What's the story?

In SEMI-PRO, Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a '70s one-hit wonder who used his money to buy the Tropics, an American Basketball Association team in his hometown of Flint, Mich. Not only is he the team's owner -- he's also the coach, promoter, and a starting player. When the ABA commissioner (David Koechner) announces that only the top four teams will merge into the more successful National Basketball Association, Moon trades his team's washing machine for aging former NBA player Monix (Woody Harrelson). The two then attempt to lead the bottom-barrel team -- led by standout player "Coffee" Black (Andre Benjamin) -- to shot at glory.

Is it any good?


On the laugh-meter scale, Semi-Pro ranks much lower than Ferrell's other comedies, even those that take multiple viewings to really appreciate, like Anchorman. There are few printable catchphrases or jokes (though there are several creative R-rated curses), and the plot follows a basic sports-drama arc -- underdog team must whip into shape before the big game -- that isn't exactly reinvented by the few classic Ferrell-and-friend gags along the way (like Moon's attempt to lure fans by wrestling a grizzly bear).

Still, there's no denying that audiences will laugh at several of the scenes, especially shots of Ferrell in his '70s 'fro and synthetic-fiber outfits. And it's always a highlight to see his many talented comedian friends -- Andy Richter, Will Arnett, and Tim Meadows, to name a few -- in supporting roles. Bottom line? Semi-Pro is sweet from the sports-flick perspective but lacks the huge-laugh staying power needed to be one of Ferrell's best comedies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this comedy follows the Hollywood formula for sports movies. Despite the raunchy jokes, isn't this more or less a typical underdog story? What is Monix's message about professional sports? To him, is it more important to be an NBA hotshot or to love playing basketball? Why do you think this movie got an R rating, while many of Ferrell's other sports comedies have been PG-13? Is it just the strong language? Does swearing make a movie funnier, or is it distracting?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 28, 2008
DVD release date:June 2, 2008
Cast:Andre Benjamin, Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson
Director:Kent Alterman
Studio:New Line
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some sexual content.

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Parent of a 18 and 19 year old Written byfamily kid March 13, 2009

great mivie

histericle. Up in the top three with step brothers and talladega nights
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What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
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