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Set against the backdrop of professional football, SEMI-TOUGH is both a three-cornered romantic comedy and a scathing satire of self-help movements. Reynolds and Kristofferson are teammates on a fictitious Super Bowl-bound Miami football team owned by Preston, a recent convert to BEAT, the
est-like way to a better life "gurued" by Convy. Recently returned from Africa, Preston's twice-divorced daughter, Clayburgh, reappraises her longtime friends, Reynolds and Kristofferson, and finds the latter, whom Convy has led to BEAT, not only a changed man but a suitable fiance. The trouble is
Reynolds is in love with Clayburgh; however, being a resourceful guy, he manages to poke a hole in Convy's BEAT bubble, pull off some Super Bowl magic, and make sure that the right guy ends up with Preston's daughter. Based on a book by Dan Jenkins, SEMI-TOUGH is periodically funny and frequently
on target in its satire, and it boasts a strong performance from Reynolds (who also starred in the football-themed THE LONGEST YARD). Jenkins's novel did not include the self-help lampooning, which was introduced into the story by screenwriter Bernstein at the insistence of director Ritchie (THE
BAD NEWS BEARS; DOWNHILL RACER). Several sportscasters and former football players appear in the film in character or as themselves, including Joe Kapp, Carl Weathers (ROCKY), Paul Hornung, and Lindsay Nelson.