Will Ferrell Bounces Back in 'Semi-Pro'

Get prepped for the cineplex with Daniel Holloway, Metro film critic for Metro newspaper, to find out what new movies are coming out this week.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Okay, so there's one catch phrase we didn't get to, one from a movie that's very near and dear to us here at the BPP.

(Soundbite from film "Anchorman")

Mr. WILL FERRELL (As Ron Burgundy): I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ALISON STEWART, host:

I love "Anchorman."

MARTIN: Forgive us while we have a little moment to ourselves. Will Ferrell, we love him. He's out in a new one today, "Semi Pro." Yep, the milkshakes have been drunk, the Oscars are over, it's time to talk about new movies. So we've called in Mr. Daniel Holloway, good friend of the BPP and film critic Metro newspapers. Hey, Daniel.

Mr. DANIEL HOLLOWAY (Film Critic, Metro newspapers): Hey, how's it going?

MARTIN: Goes well, thank you. Okay. We're going to start with "The Other Boleyn Girl," period drama, bodice-ripper, Anne Boleyn and King Henry the VIII. Is this good for a history lesson, or some kind of titillating...

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Not for a history lesson.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: But if you want to see the cover to one of the novels my grandmother likes to read reenacted - or acted out I should say, but yeah, you're in for a treat.

STEWART: Wow. Her heaving bosom?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Lots of heaving bosoms.

STEWART: Yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Heaving bosoms. Let's - before we get your true thoughts on this, let's hear a clip from Natalie Portman as Ann, with the king played by The Hulk.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Eric Bana?

(Soundbite of film "The Other Boleyn Girl")

Mr. ERIC BANA (As King Henry the VIII): Good morning, Ann.

Ms. NATALIE PORTMAN (As Anne Boleyn): Good morning, your grace.

Mr. BANA: Who will you ride with?

Ms. PORTMAN: On my own, your grace.

Mr. BANA: On your own?

Ms. PORTMAN: There's a new saddle now, it's lovely.

Mr. BANA: But with no man to hold on to, how do you propose to stay on the horse?

Ms. PORTMAN: As usual, your grace, with my thighs.

STEWART: Oh, with my thighs.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: I saw this at a public screening a few nights ago, and when that line came out everyone in the audience goes, oh no.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: That's pretty much the reaction to the whole movie, right there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I mean, this movie also stars Scarlett Johansson who's playing against Ann as the more shy sister. And I've seen trailers and they're both trying to do these accents and it's bugging me. Should I just get over that?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah, you kind of have to just let it go. There's not a whole lot of - it's not a very - for being a movie about the Tudors, it's not a very English movie. It's made for American audiences who want a steamy romance, and that's what it gives. My wife and I, actually, a couple weeks ago, were getting on a flight and she picked the book up in the bookstore. And we're sitting on the plane and she gets to the point - and she knows the deep affection that I have for both Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman - and she goes, oh, well I have good news for you. And I said, oh, what's that? And she said, there's a scene in here in which both the Boleyn sisters take a bath together. Cha-ching.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: But that doesn't actually show up in the movie, but there is plenty of stuff...

MARTIN: Well, and hello, Eric Bana.

STEWART: There's something for everybody.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: King Henry the VIII keeps getting hunkier and hunkier.

STEWART: Yeah, I thought I remember him always being a fat guy with a turkey leg...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: No, not now. King Henry the VIII, sexiest man alive.

MARTIN: Gotten a makeover in Hollywood. Okay. So we started out with this man, we're going to re-visit him right now. Will Ferrell, he's in "Semi-Pro" as a basketball player. Is this Will doing anything different than Will usually does?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: No, this is him doing exactly the same thing as what he usually does.

MARTIN: Which I love.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah. I think he's a genius. He might be the most important man working in film today.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Bold statement. Before we get any further, let's hear a little clip of him doing his thing.

(Soundbite of movie "Semi-Pro")

Mr. ANDREW DALY (As Dick Pepperfield): Welcome back to Tropics Weekly. I'm joined by owner, player, coach, Jackie Moon. Jackie, it is always an honor when you can drop by.

Mr. WILL FERRELL (As Jackie Moon): Always enjoy our time together, Dick Pepper.

Mr. DALY: Dick Pepperfield, actually. Now, Jackie, amazingly you're two wins away from getting your team to the NBA. How do you intend to match up to the Squires' strong inside game?

Mr. FERRELL: It's a great question. Tomorrow, after the game, I Jackie Moon will wrestle a bear.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: He does too.

Mr. FERRELL: Defensively, as a team. That's tomorrow night, one night only, watch Dewey the wrestling bear attack me. And he's killed people in public before.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: He's been a Nascar driver, a figure skater, now he's going to be a basketball player, but I guess we don't care, we just going back.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah. I mean, this movie's funny. I thought - everyone ripped on "Blades of Glory," I actually thought it was pretty funny.

MARTIN: I thought it was hilarious.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah, I thought it was about as funny as "Talladega Nights." This one, there's a lot of good jokes in here. There's an amazing scene where Ferrell and Tim Meadows and Andy Richter and Will Arnett are sitting around a card table and a gun comes out. And it's the most funny uncomfortable scene in a screwball comedy in forever. But the movie kind of just plays like a lot of jokes stacked one on top of the other. And there's not a lot of...

MARTIN: Deep narrative?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Right. Well, you don't expect a lot of deep narrative, but there's not even much, like, rhythm going from one to the other. It's just like joke, joke, joke, joke, joke.

STEWART: Is there though - is it a great Will Ferrell physical comedy? I just love the way he uses his not-so-chiseled physique...

MARTIN: Bod.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

STEWART: ...in these films.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Well, watching him run around the court as a power forward for an ABA team is pretty funny. And he also gives the longest, most agonizing puke-take in the history of film in this movie.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Which is pretty physical.

MARTIN: I'm going. I'm totally going to that movie.

STEWART: I may have to go see that movie.

MARTIN: Switching gears, "A City of Men" is out too. This is sort of a sequel to the 2002, brilliant movie, "City of God."

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah. It's a little easy to be confused. "City of God" was followed up by a television show based in the same neighborhoods of Rio called "City of Men." This movie is sort of a sequel to that television series, which did air here in the U.S., I forget on which network. It follows two characters, and their names are Ace and Wallace. And when we find them in the film they're on the edge of their 18th birthday. One of them has a baby and the other one doesn't know who is father is. And this is all set against the backdrop of a gang war in their name, which is called Dead-end Hill.

MARTIN: "City of God" was pretty hard to stomach at points. Is this any easier?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah. It's more structured. It's a little more structured. And also the violence, it's an extraordinarily violent film. I mean, a gang-war happens. People are getting shot, literally, just about every five minutes. You don't see a lot of blood for all of that. This is told very much - visually very much in the sort of tradition of mobster movies. And narratively also, because you have this sort of power struggle going on with these two rival gang factions.

The reason it works is because Ace and Wallace are - they're not the guys who are competing for control of this hill. They're just two guys who are kind of caught up in and it grounds the story in a personal narrative. But the lack of realism at times is a little strange.

MARTIN: Okay. We're going to close talking about "Bonneville." This is kind of the modern-day revisited "Thelma and Louise" story, except instead of two ladies, we've got three. And they've swapped out Brad Pitt for Tom Skerritt.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Who I...

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Who's called luscious at one point in this film.

MARTIN: Luscious? What do you think about this movie?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: You know...

MARTIN: Is it just for ladies of a certain age who are trying to recapture something?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Again, talking about the audience I saw this film with, and I walked in and there was 25 adorable ladies wearing red hats and purple...

STEWART: Oh, the red hat club.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah, yeah.

STEWART: Say no more.

MARTIN: Totally.

STEWART: So that's the audience?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Yeah, that is the audience.

MARTIN: Okay.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Kathy Bates would say things like, oh, that just takes me back, and they would just explode into laughter. It's like "Juno" for old people.

MARTIN: That's okay. I mean, you know.

STEWART: Mature people.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: A mature audience will appreciate the maturity of this film.

MARTIN: How's Jessica Lange? Is she funny?

Mr. HOLLOWAY: No, no one's funny, unfortunately.

MARTIN: Oh.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: It's a great cast. It's Jessica Lange, Joan Allen and Kathy Bates.

MARTIN: Kathy Bates is funny.

STEWART: That's a good cast.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: These are top-shelf actresses.

STEWART: Absolutely.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: But man, they just failed to give them anything interesting to do. I understand making a movie for an audience, but this one just doesn't...

STEWART: It must be really hard to be an actress that age at this point. You either have to be Scarlett Johannson and Natalie Portman, or you have to play somebody's Grammy - you have to be Gloria Stewart in "Titanic."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HOLLOWAY: And you can see the idea of them coming together for this. But it's just not working.

MARTIN: Daniel Holloway, Metro newspaper film critic, thank you so much for coming in.

Mr. HOLLOWAY: Thanks guys.

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