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'Semi-Pro'

Gotta hand it to Will Ferrell, the man is game: Ask him to dress like an elf, or don tights and ice skates, or hop into a NASCAR racer, and he'll cheerfully play anchorman, as it were, for some pretty slight stuff.

But those films all had scripts with actual jokes. This lamely staged basketball sitcom, on the other hand, tries to make do with a not-terribly-amusing "sit" — an owner-coach for a failing '70s ABA team tries to promote it into the NBA — and almost no "com" at all.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.
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