Will Ferrell, Andrew Daly
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Will Ferrell sports movie primer

By Patrick Day, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

In Will Ferrell’s latest sports comedy, “Semi-Pro,” he plays Jackie Moon, the outrageous owner of the Flint, Mich., Tropics. Sports fans may thrill to the ’70s-style basketball action, but true comedy aficionados will no doubt enjoy the talented supporting cast, which includes regular collaborators Andy Richter and Will Arnett. Of course, the sports comedy has become fertile territory for Ferrell, and certain moments in “Semi-Pro” might seem strangely familiar. In the interest of clearing up any confusion, what follows is a quick look at some of the hallmarks of the actor’s athletic-oriented humor. (Frank Masi / Associated Press)
‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ (2006)

The sport: NASCAR

Ferrell plays: Cocky but lovable buffoon Ricky Bobby

Ferrell sings: Nothing in this one, but frequent Ferrell cohort John C. Reilly performs Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”

Gratuitous nudity: Stripped down to his tighty-whiteys and a helmet, Ferrell, as Bobby, runs around a race track, screaming, attempting to douse invisible flames.

Classic rock: “Faithfully” by Journey

Wacky European stereotype: Artsy, intellectual French racer, who also happens to be gay, played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Cameos from professional athletes: Dick Berggren, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Joy, Jamie McMurray, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip

Featuring Andy Richter as... Gregory, the gay lover of Baron Cohen’s Jean Girard (Suzanne Hanover / Columbia Pictures)
Blades of Glory (2007)

The sport: Competitive figure skating

Ferrell plays: Obnoxious but lovable buffoon Chazz Michael Michaels

Ferrell sings: “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas

Gratuitous nudity: An open-robe view of Ferrell’s chest and an extended topless scene in which he shows off his many tattoos.

Classic rock: “Flash’s Theme” by Queen

Wacky European stereotype: None, but the villains Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, have the most Germanic names imaginable.

Cameos from professional athletes: Brian Boitano, Sasha Cohen, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton and Nancy Kerrigan.

Featuring Andy Richter as... a Canadian Mountie (Suzanne Hanover, xx)
‘Kicking & Screaming’ (2005)

The sport: Soccer

Ferrell plays: Uptight but lovable buffoon Phil Weston

Ferrell sings: “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited

Gratuitous nudity: In a game of shirts versus skins against Ferrell’s character’s father, played by Robert Duvall, guess who gets skins?

Classic rock: “We Are the Champions” by Queen

Wacky European stereotype: Two Italian kids who are soccer whizzes, of course

Cameos from professional athletes: Mike Ditka (OK, he’s not an athlete, but The Coach is a celebrity in his own right)

Featuring Andy Richter as... This is the one Richter sat out. (Sam Urdank / Universal Studios)
‘Semi-Pro’ (2008)

The sport: Men’s basketball

Ferrell plays: Obnoxious but lovable buffoon Jackie Moon

Ferrell sings: Original composition “Love Me Sexy”

Gratuitous nudity: Ferrell spends one-third of the film in very revealing, very tiny shorts. Very tiny.

Classic rock: “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield

Wacky European stereotype: The stoic, mustachioed Uzbek player, Vakidis.

Cameos from professional athletes: None, given that the film takes place in the 1970s. However, real life NBA player Peter Cornell plays Vakidis.

Featuring Andy Richter as... Office assistant Bobby Dee (Frank Masi / New Line Cinema)