Semi-Tough

A movie review, by Barbara Livieri

Semi-Tough was released November 18, 1977 : Genre – Comedy

Well, I REALLY wanted to love this movie. I sat down ready for a fun relaxing evening, expecting to laugh out loud, and experience, not just a plucking of, but a YANKING on my heartstrings with both Kris AND Burt Reynolds in top form (be still my heart – right ladies?)

I didn’t really experience much of either. I’ll probably watch it again tonight as I did start it pretty late and was tired. Hopefully I’ll catch some redeeming qualities that I missed the first time. If so, I’ll revise my review.

Not Great – Must See

Don’t get me wrong, I think it was an ok movie, but not great, and I guess it’s a must see if you’re a Kris fan just to say you’ve seen it.

There are some very funny scenes, and some very gallant moves, but it was kind of all over the place. Very scattered and confusing at times.

The premise here is of a Miami football team (NOT the Dolphins) consisting of best friends Burt Reynolds as Billy Clyde Puckett, and Kris as Marvin “The Shake” Tillman.

Movie Poster

Familiar Faces

A few familiar faces from back in the day mixed in as the rest of the team, and Robert Preston (Music Man) as the team’s owner. Both Billy Clyde and Shake live with childhood friend and team owner’s daughter, Barbara Jean (played by Jill Clayburgh) as platonic roomies.

Until… Shake starts to display some new endearing personality traits that Barbara Jean hasn’t seen in him before (after Shake returns from a self-help cult-like seminar).

Love Try Angles

Barbara Jean starts falling for Shake and he for her, and poor Billy Clyde is left in the dust. Billy Clyde reeling from the announcement that Shake and Barbara Jean are getting married realizes HE himself is in love with Barbara Jean.

Hilarity ensues.

Only SEMI Rough & Tough

I was expecting a football movie with some sophomoric laughs that are typical of Burt Reynolds’ movies of the 1970s. Bawdy sex humor, beer commercial mentality and the ever loving brawl (yes, I am a fan – shoot me)

It did happen – a little bit, but the football part was very subdued, and the childish humour not very prevalent or all that funny.

Self-Help Syndrome

They threw in some self-help guru (which was all the rage in the 1970s – a fad thankfully I didn’t pay much attention to at the time [and as a child, why would I?) played very well by Bert Convy. According to other reviews, this was a knock-off of a real-life “est” (Erhard Seminars Training) movement.

It seems everyone is trying to improve themselves in this movie with some gimmick or another.

They could have done a little less ‘self-help’ and more character development, or humor.

So?

There were definitely times where I did laugh out loud, but not as much as there should have been. The romantic scenes were, well, not so romantic. I don’t know that Kris and Jill had much chemistry. And eventually, Shake’s self-awareness transformation turned into a joke on him, as self-awareness itself transformed into selfishness. Thank heavens it did – for Billy Clyde and Barbara Jean anyway.


Movie of its Time – Caution

Word of caution, there is racial humor, something people in the 1970s weren’t so offended by, and it was coming from both sides.

There’s a bit of nudity, butts and boobs, of course. And profanity, of course, but not overused.

Interested?

If you haven’t seen it and want to, you can catch it for free or on an included streaming service you currently have. It’s currently available and included on Amazon Prime in the US.

I don’t know that I’d go out and buy the DVD at full price unless there was some sort of extra commentary package; which now that Burt is no longer with us, I doubt will ever happen.

GET REAL!

Another thing I’m pissed about was there was no gag reel at the end, as was so prevalent in Burt Reynolds’ movies. I think it would be priceless to see Kris and Burt cracking up together as per the norm on Burt’s movie sets.

Thoughts

If there is one, it wasn’t shown. If I had to rate it on a 1 to 10 scale, I’d maybe give it a 6, possibly a 7, if I had some herbal self-help of my own beforehand. LOL

Final thought? Not great, but not horrible.

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