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Stars: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin, Maura Tierney, Will Arnett, Andy Richter, David Koechner

Director: Kent Alterman

This is certainly the least funny of Ferrell's sporting comedies, and indeed you wonder what attracted the burly comedian to the subject of basketball in the first place, since its comic possibilities seem extremely limited. His last, Blades of Glory, was an inventive lark, but there's no glory here.

A bout between the star and a wrestling bear at least holds the attention, but it pales beside the boxing antics of such comedy giants as Chaplin and Stan Laurel. Otherwise we're left with such sequences as Ferrell's cohort (Harrelson) insisting on the team exercising until they literally vomit - apart from Will, who's never been sick. So Harrelson punches him in the duodenal so that Ferrell is gigantically sick all over him. Yep, even Ferrell fanatics may find their loyalty strained with this one.

One stretch of dialogue must take its place in the annals of comedy turkeys as among the most supefyingly unfunny ever conceived, as Ferrell tells a business associate that 'I wish I had a son like you...a son the same age as me. A son-friend...' And it goes on. You get the picture.

A couple of chuckles do save this from getting a no-star rating, but it's hugely indigestible. ER's invaluable Maura Tierney has a demeaning role that requires her to do little more than simulate rough sex with Harrelson. She should stick to the day job.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Entertainment (New Line). Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Feb 2008