Semi-Pro parents guide

Semi-Pro Parent Guide

Overall D+

Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) likes to think of himself as a professional basketball player, so he buys his own team and bills himself as their star. The movie is similarly pretentious, appearing like an underdog sports movie, but really just a vehicle to spoof the 70s and slam-dunk some crude humor.

Release date February 28, 2008

Violence C
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Semi-Pro rated R? The MPAA rated Semi-Pro R for language and some sexual content.

Parent Movie Review

Mid-life guys doing stupid adult tricks are becoming big business in movies lately, and Will Ferrell—now in his 40th year—appears eager to jump on the bandwagon. In Semi-Pro he plays Jackie Moon, a one-man basketball machine in Flint Michigan. He also once had a singing career.

Thanks to the profits he acquired from his hit disco song Love Me Sexy, Jackie was able to purchase a franchise in the struggling American Basketball Association (ABA). Holding the positions of owner, coach, promoter and star player, he begins each game with his hit single and then struts his stuff on the court. The other players are truly extras whose only job is to make the groovy guy look as good as possible, and exchange profanities and insults between dismal game plays.

But being a legend in your own mind isn’t necessarily good for business. With low numbers on the scoreboard and in the stands, the Flint Tropics are barely surviving. Meanwhile the ABA isn’t faring much better and decides to accept a merger offer from the NBA. The deal will bring a big opportunity—but only for four of the fledgling league’s teams. Somehow the Tropics need to pull themselves up into fourth place position and fill up a few more seats.

With only a washing machine left in his collection of assets, Jackie manages to get another has-been on his roster in exchange for the appliance. Monix (Woody Harrelson) played on a winning NBA team, but spent most of his time on the bench. Eager to return to Flint so he can try and reignite a relationship with an old friend, the seasoned pro is truly serious about making the Tropics into a hot commodity—a change that is welcomed by the other players.

Not surprisingly, this US MPAA R-rated comedy features gobs of profanities, crass sexual remarks, expletives and innuendo that are typical for this genre. Insensitive remarks about mentally challenged people and frequent camera views of the team’s “ball girls” (i.e. cheerleaders dressed in bikinis) along with multiple scenes of people smoking tobacco products are additional concerns. Finally, a dangerous scene where a group of men pretend to shoot each other with a presumably unloaded gun is definitely an amusement no one should mimic.

Written by Scot Armstrong, the creator of School for Scoundrels and Starsky & Hutch, the only favorable element is Harrelson’s character (with the exception of a scene depicting a moment of heated sex with his former flame). Although it is predictable and hardly new, Monix provides a reasonable direction for the team. However, it seems to be a strange artistic fit when everything else in this film is over-the-top unbelievable.

Starring Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Will Arnett, Andre 3000. Theatrical release February 28, 2008. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Semi-Pro rated R? Semi-Pro is rated R by the MPAA for language and some sexual content.

Heavy on sexual dialogue and light on sports, this film suffers from many moments of innuendo, crass remarks, profanities and visuals. Characters frequently use crude anatomical terms to describe men and women, along with sexual expletives and various other moderate and mild profanities. A mostly clothed unmarried man and woman are seen having sex while another man excitedly looks on (it is insinuated the spectator is about to begin masturbating). Cheerleaders wearing bikinis are seen throughout the film. Players begin fighting during a game and exchange blows. As well, a man punches another man in order to force him to vomit. During a poker game, a group of men take a gun and pretend to shoot each other and themselves after being told there are no bullets in the weapon—then the gun suddenly fires. An unruly crowd is seen in a stadium parking lot and a police car is overturned by a group of uniformed officers. It is implied that a secondary character is using drugs. Other characters are seen smoking tobacco products and drinking socially.

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Semi-Pro Parents' Guide

Amazingly, there is a thread of truth in this movie. The ABA was a real league that existed from 1967 to 1976, and their teams were known for flashier plays and glitzier performances. While the Flint team in this movie is fictitious, you can find more details about the league in this article:

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Semi-Pro movie is June 2, 2008. Here are some details…

Semi-Pro releases to DVD in either a single or a double disc package. Special features included with the 2-Disc Set are Love Me Sexy (the story behind the one-hit-wonder), Recreating the American Basketball Association, Four Days in Flint, The Man Behind Semi-Pro, and behind-the-scenes footage with Bill Walton, Bob Costas and “Dick Pepperfield.” In addition this version provides the Love Me Sexy music video and theatrical trailers.

Semi-Pro also releases in a Blu-ray Edition. Along with all of the bonus extras included with the 2-disc set, the BD presentation offers Bill Walton Visits the Set (bonus footage) and Super Agility Trainer (an interactive game).

Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and 2.0 Stereo Surround).

Related home video titles:

Thankfully you can find similar “work hard and let’s win the big game” conclusions in dozens of other sports movies that don’t have the content issues found in Semi-Pro (such as Hoosiers, Glory Road and Rudy). Parents will likely prefer to pull some of these reasonable alternatives off the shelf rather than have their kids play a game of dirty basketball with this team.

Video alternatives…

Basketball and humor are combined in Rebound, a movie where an obnoxious coach gets benched and, to improve his image, is forced to supervise a junior high school team of misfits. Comedian Will Ferrell also stars in the Christmas film Elf.