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HBO’s ‘Ferrell Takes the Field’ feels like a dull victory lap

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Ferrell Takes the Field: A few blandly humorous comments, slick game-play footage and a whole lot of high fives.

Two stars

Ferrell Takes the Field September 12, 10 p.m., HBO.

Will Ferrell loves his oddball projects, from regional beer commercials to a straight-faced Lifetime movie to a Spanish-language film to a Broadway show about George W. Bush. His latest is the self-indulgent HBO documentary Ferrell Takes the Field, chronicling the day in March 2014 when Ferrell played 10 different positions for 10 different Major League Baseball teams during spring training in Arizona.

The stunt raised $1 million for Cancer for College, a charity founded by one of Ferrell’s college buddies, so it’s hard to criticize either Ferrell’s or MLB’s participation. But that doesn’t mean anybody needs to watch a 50-minute back-patting promotional video about it, with no more substantive content than its own 90-second trailer.

The joke, of course, is that Ferrell is an out-of-shape 47-year-old buffoon not fit to play professional baseball, and that’s pretty much the only joke the show has. Since it’s set up to promote Major League teams and Ferrell’s charity efforts, the show can’t take any serious satirical jabs, so instead Ferrell makes a few blandly humorous comments, and the rest of the running time is filled with some slick game-play footage and lots of high fives. Everybody involved had a good time and did some good in the process. Let’s just leave it at that.

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