Thursday, February 28, 2008


An open letter to Will Ferrell

Dear Will,

This is not an easy letter for me to write. You know how much I love you. I heart your brand of wacky humor more than I love a Venti Latte. And that's a lot. But now, I think you are hurting yourself. Now, I don't have a problem per se' with you tackling one high concept character after another, surrounding yourself with other comedic geniuses and tossing in meager story, just for kicks. But your new film, "Semi-Pro" takes this to a whole new level, and I'm not sure you even bothered with the story this time.

You play Jackie Moon, a strange entrepreneur with a bizarre "hit" single "Love Sexy" (which gets played no less than 5 times in the course of the film). Jackie buys a lesser team of the ABA, the Flint Tropics and becomes the owner/coach/promoter/announcer/player he always dreamed of. If this movie had been about you and your journey, a la "Anchorman" or "Talladega Nights" I don't think I'd have a problem. But, this story isn't about Jackie Moon.

It's about Monix.

Monix -- played by Woody Harrelson, is a washed up bench rider from the NBA, who has a championship ring he never earned, and has a lot to prove. Of course, I got no real introduction to the character...let me rephrase, I got an introduction. Jackie Moon introduces Monix to this Tropics team and basically tells me, the audience "hi, this is a new character, and you don't know this but he's actually the main character, even though you thought it was me. Enjoy the veal."

You can imagine my confusion and consternation when the story suddenly shifted and I wasn't sure who I was supposed to be following.

Will, you are funny. You deserve to be the main character in a movie like this. But in this movie...well, the story was either a distraction from you, or you were a distraction from the story.

I know what you're thinking right now. You want to say "relax, sugar-mammaries, it's just a goofy comedy!" It is a goofy comedy, you're right about that! And there are some high-larious moments, moments as good, and a few even better, than some in previously mentioned films in your oeuvre. The card-playing scene. Bear wrestling. Ridiculous costumed choreography. All fine comedic moments.

But the big question, the one I always ask myself at the end of every film, 'Will I want to watch this over and over again?' I can watch 'Anchorman' a lot. Talladega Nights has some good rewatchability to it. This film...I'm just not sure.

So, while I think you are funny and the film is funny in places, as a's not so good. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind someday. I certainly have before -- a movie grows on a person sometimes, just like kudzu. But for now, I think you and I need a break from each other. It's not you, Will. No tears, my cuddly bear toy. I'll never forget the times we've had. The Ron Burgundy, Frank the Tank, Ricky Bobby fun of it all. And maybe someday, I'll even revisit Jackie Moon, and think fondly on all this, grateful that I gave us another chance.

Until then, stay strong. And classy, San Diego.

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