Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Movie Review: White Noise

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 1/7/05 (wide)
Running Time: 1:38
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, disturbing images, profanity)
Cast: Michael Keaton, Chandra West, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice

Director: Geoffrey Sax
Producers: Paul Brooks, Shawn Williamson
Screenplay: Niall Johnson
Music: Claude Foisy
Studio: Universal Pictures

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You might be wondering: Why hasn’t Michael Keaton picked up a lead role in nearly a decade? Well, White Noise is the answer. With a running time just under one hour and forty minutes, White Noise is 98 minutes too long. It is way too vanilla to be even described as a decent psychological horror film. Worse than both Dragonfly and The Forgotten, White Noise makes the likes of The Grudge and even Darkness Falls look frightening and commendable. White Noise is an utter cacophony of insanely predictable plot developments, silly science, and stupid static that will surely lull any moviegoer into a slumber.

Jonathan Rogers (Michael Keaton) is a well-off architect whose wife Anna (Chandra West) announces that she is pregnant. After some small poorly inserted love scenes – with smiles and laughs shared between husband and wife – that solely establish a connection (albeit a bad one), you guessed it…Anna dies. Her car is discovered on the side of a road near a small cliff, and her body is found on the rocks below. Apparently, her death was caused by severe head trauma from the fall.

Months later, through a series of transmissions via various electronic devises, Jonathan hears his dead wife call out his name. Jonathan then turns to Raymond (Ian McNeice), an obese British man who explains the concept behind Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). EVP is the supposed means wherein the dead can contact the living through the static of any electronic equipment—you name it: televisions, telephones, radios, CD players and answering machines; apparently, the deceased have their own channel that spans all mediums.

As fast as you can snap your fingers, Jonathan goes from highly skeptical of Raymond’s convincing, to an absolute EVP fanatic—buying every type of electronic equipment you can think of and then both watching and listening to endless hours of static. Maybe it is just me, but after seeing nothing buy grey pixels and hearing nothing but a crackling buzz, your mind definitely has the ability to decide what visions you see and what sounds you perceive.

Nevertheless, the sights and noises that Jonathan observes show him the deceased before they die. Jonathan believes that his wife is sending him these messages to keep the living alive, but a blind fortune teller thinks otherwise. The one thing that Raymond forgot to tell Jonathan was to stay away from those images and reverberations that seem to be sinister.

Identical to a foreigner attempting to speak another country’s native language, director Geoffrey Sax clumsily pieces something together. His effort is missing credible plot developments, any trace of legitimate science, and a hefty amount of promising scares. In addition, a crucial aspect that Sax fails to impede is the suspension of disbelief; seeing the dead on a TV screen is just about as authentic and tangible as spotting the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese.

Being that its EVP focus is at least absorbing, White Noise – in terms of plot, structure and horror – underachieves in everyway imaginable. In fact, the trailer’s introduction to EVP is more intriguing than the actual film as a whole. Its scares are too ridiculously inexplicable and its drama is too drab to become the slightest bit enthralled with the storyline.

Because White Noise’s ending makes no sense whatsoever, it leaves a heap of questions left unanswered. Still, by the end, not one single soul will care to have these questions answered. With poor direction, a script full of errors, and a lead who snores through his role, White Noise is one reel that should have never made it past the cutting room floor. (* our of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Friday, May 27, 2005

Movie Review: Crash

United States, 2004
U.S. Release Date: 5/6/05 (wide)
Running Time: 1:40
Rated: R (Profanity, sexual situations, nudity, violence)
Cast: Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Terrence Dashon Howard, Ludacris

Director: Paul Haggis
Producers: Don Cheadle, Paul Haggis, Mark R. Harris, Robert Moresco, Cathy Schulman, Bob Yari
Screenplay: Paul Haggis & Robert Moresco
Music: Mark Isham
Studio: Lions Gate Films

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After penning a phenomenal three-pronged character study in Million Dollar Baby, Paul Haggis has written and directed an astounding ensemble feature in Crash. By colliding racial prejudices, articulate dialogue, and ingratiating irony, Haggis has signed, sealed, and delivered a complete package of a movie. It is disheartening, unflinching, and at times even thwarting, but at no point does Crash falter and lose its effectiveness. While Crash may be bounded by an overused formula (where the characters interweave and the story wraps upon itself), the script is still dynamic and sole.

At the film’s opening, we are introduced to a homicide detective named Graham (Don Cheadle) and his partner - both on the force and in bed - named Ria (Jennifer Esposito). Both were just involved in a car crash atop the hills of Los Angeles (quite reminiscent of Mulholland Drive). At this very same crash site, the body of a kid has been found.

Rewind one day. Well-to-do District Attorney Rick (Brendan Fraser) and his snobbish housewife Jean (Sandra Bullock) are car-jacked by two African-American thieves named Anthony (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Peter (Larenz Tate). While the DA’s primary concern is losing the black vote, his wife’s racial insecurities surface. She becomes so distressed with the car-jacking that she lashes out at her husband to have their locks changed again; she is convinced that the Latino locksmith that they hired, named Daniel (Michael Pena), is going to copy their new keys and sell them to his “homies.” However, the locksmith really isn’t a “gang banger,” but rather a respectable, safety-conscious family man who lovingly supports his wife and daughter. Later, it is Daniel’s run-in with a Persian shop owner named Farhad (Shaun Toub) that results in the spiraling and potentially disastrous upshot.

Elsewhere, veteran LAPD officer Ryan (Matt Dillon) and his rookie partner Hanson (Ryan Phillippe), pull over a distinguished African American couple, Cameron (Terrence Dashon Howard) and Christine (Thandie Newton). Ryan’s racism exudes when he “searches” Christine for weapons and threatens to cuff and book them both. Because of Ryan’s unnecessary actions, Hanson requests a change in partner, and as a newcomer to the force, he attempts to be fair and just towards all walks of life.

Come Crash’s closing, some may conclude that Haggis overused coincidence and irony to resolve every plot thread, but it is through irony that karma and self-actualization are realized. Once the story arcs and the characters intersect, those who once held stereotypes – based on the shade of one’s skin – have developed, and those who were once blind to racism’s deafening effects have established racial suppositions of their own.

With Crash, it is a feat in itself that Haggis has compacted an ensemble script into a Hollywood-friendly one-hundred minutes. Unlike P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia, Crash’s stories mesh quicker and more brazenly. Crash is a rare occasion where an additional thirty minutes of running time would have been accepted with open arms. We become so enraptured by each one of the characters that any extra screen time from any of the equally excellent actors would be entirely conducive.

After Baby and Crash, it is easy to conceive that Haggis may have the Midas touch. Crash is simply one of those golden pictures that you wish you could compel everyone in the world to watch. It is a sad truth that Crash’s fifteen-plus central characters serve as a microcosm of the very world in which we live. But perhaps the saddest aspect of Crash’s storyline is that between all of the murdering, blackmailing, racial stereotyping, and stealing, not one single soul seems to take notice that it is the Christmas season.

Crash is an important must-see and a wake-up call to all who possess even the slightest social discrimination. It depicts the boiling and brewing of an urban cauldron filled with whites, blacks, Latinos, Middle Easterners, and Asians; high-class and low-class; cops and civilians. It capitalizes with some of the most intriguing discourse on racism, and in all its violence, rage, and tension, Crash does not contain one single purposeless scene. Seize my suggestion, and see the multi-layered, cogent, and forceful Crash. (**** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Movie Review: Blue Velvet

United States, 1986
U.S. Release Date: 9/19/86
Running Time: 2:00
Rated: R (Profanity, violence, nudity, sex)
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson

Director: David Lynch
Producer: Fred Caruso
Screenplay: David Lynch
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Studio: MGM

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The word “wow!” could easily sum up a review of Blue Velvet. Nevertheless, I digress. Director David Lynch combines violence, profanity, and sex in this unique and near psychotic mystery. In doing so, he creates the finest and most comprehensive example of his genius. By juxtaposing good and evil, beauty and ugliness, and dream and nightmare, Lynch bends the customary genre of mystery with his unconventional weirdness. While some may say that Blue Velvet is too wacko and out-there to view, that is precisely what makes this film an outright masterpiece.

After uncovering a severed human ear, Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) takes it to the police station. There, the Lumberton Police Department opens the case, and so does the intuitively investigative Jeffrey. Jeffrey soon meets Sandy (Laura Dern), who happens to be the daughter of the officer in charge of the investigation on the extremity, and together the two become sleuths hoping to solve the mystery behind the ear and its owner.

Jeffrey and Sandy soon acquire information of a possible link between the ear and a local nightclub singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini). After breaking into the young women’s apartment and not hearing Sandy's warning, Jeffrey ends up trapped inside. Just as Dorothy and Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) enter the apartment, Jeffrey slips into a closet with louver doors. From there, he observes Frank violently and sexually abuse Dorothy; however, Dorothy is aroused by being beaten and dominated. Soon, Jeffrey himself develops an S&M relationship with the nightclub singer and is corrupted from the American Dream with Sandy to the American Nightmare with Dorothy and Frank.

At the beginning of the film, there is an amazing sequence, in which the camera sinks to the ground and wanders in between the blades of grass; this shot will surely both catch your eye and set your brain waves in motion. After the camera weaves through the grass and passes over the earthy terrain, it reveals what is beyond the green grass—a grotesque pile of black slimy bugs. While this shot may be a little unsettling, it serves as the overall theme of the film—if you look hard enough and close enough at the seemingly simple world of Americana, you will find the absolute depths of unsettling wickedness.

Although a handful of Blue Velvet’s scenes take a look at the ugly side of the human race, they add to the “Lynchian” style. A few of these scenes showcase both rough sexual behaviors and ugly degradation involving the film’s lead characters. While a few have criticized Lynch for placing his characters in these demoralizing situations, all of the leads still do their job with unyielding professionalism.

Lynch favorite, Kyle MacLachlan, plays the part of the innocent yet exploratory Jeffrey faultlessly. Isabella Rossellini plays a fine role as an eccentric and sadomasochistic club singer, while Dennis Hopper is unbelievably frightening as Frank. Hands down, Hopper’s Frank Booth is one of the scariest and most twisted villains of all time; his portrayal of Frank is enigmatic, perverse, and utterly iconic.

Even if Blue Velvet tends to be shocking and uncomfortable at times, it is one of the best examples of film-noir ever affixed to celluloid. Everyone should make the time to see this feature; it is unquestionably the film American Beauty looks up to and one of the supreme features of the ‘80s. Anyway you slice it, Blue Velvet is a raw work of art, the masterstroke of an eternal artist, and one shard of fabric that all should truly experience before they expire. (**** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Movie Review: Mulholland Drive

United States/France, 2001
U.S. Release Date: 10/12/01 (limited)
Running Time: 2:26
Rated: R (violence, strong sexuality, nudity, profanity)
Cast: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Monty Montgomery, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Director: David Lynch
Producers: Mary Sweeney, Alain Sarde, Neal Edelstein, Michael Polaire, Tony Krantz
Screenplay: David Lynch
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Studio: Universal Focus

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Numerous critics have compared Mulholland Drive to a dream—not in a sense that it is light, pleasant, and airy, but rather because in its closing thirty minutes, much of the film plays out like a series of random firings of the brain. There is nothing blithe about Mulholland Drive; it is an intense workout of the id and a dark, brain-bending thinker that has the power to blister your cerebellum. To put it plain and simple, Mulholland Drive is the most F-ed up film I have ever seen.

Unlike director David Lynch’s finest and most complete effort (Blue Velvet), Mulholland Drive acquires the very same oddity and paucity that can be found in Lynch’s Lost Highway, Eraserhead, and “Twin Peaks” television series. Mulholland Drive possesses a narrative that is nonsensical, chock-full-of plot loops, confusing, weird, and spacey. However, while Lynch’s latest may be ineffective on an initial viewing and an utter disgrace to simple-minded fans of mainstream movies, on repeat viewings and with both an analytical and open mind, Mulholland Drive cascades captivation with each watch.

A young brunette (Laura Elena Harring) is the sole survivor of a car crash atop the hills of Los Angeles, on Mulholland Drive. Before the crash, the woman was held at gunpoint and most likely would have been murdered. After the crash, she forgets who she is and where she is going. Subsequent to stumbling from the crash site, she meanders into an empty LA residence owned by a vacationing actress.

Meanwhile, actress hopeful Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives at her Aunt Ruth’s home to stay—only to discover a naked woman in her Aunt’s shower. The woman tells Betty that she is her Aunt’s friend Rita, after she sees Rita Hayworth’s name on a Gilda poster hanging on Ruth’s bedroom wall. Soon after, Betty realizes that her Aunt Ruth does not know of a Rita; the amnesiac brunette then comes clean. Betty then becomes adamant to discover both who the woman really is and why she was on Mulholland Drive.

Elsewhere, a young director named Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is casting for his next feature film. However, strange forces threaten Kesher with an ultimatum: select an up-and-coming actress named Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) for the part, or suffer the consequences. Conversely, everything you think you know at this point is wrong.

Naomi Watts is brilliant in her multi-dimensional role as the prissy, yet racy, blonde. Laura Elena Harring is exquisite as the countering dazed brunette. And the two sapphic love scenes that these two leads share are just about as sexy as they can get within the R-rated boundaries. In addition to the two femme fatales, the eclectic cast also consists of Justin Theroux as the fresh-faced director and Ann Miller as the not-so-fresh-faced proprietor. Monty Montgomery is also highlighted as the ominous Cowboy, while has-been country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus is spotlighted in a bit part as Gene the pool guy.

Lynch’s direction is as flawless as can be. Without a doubt, his compound thriller shows signs of both a warped originality and a Hitchcock influence—warranting his Best Director Oscar nod in 2002. Even though Mulholland Drive’s running time ought to be pared down, its length enhances the wooziness you receive from the second-half role reversal. All things considered, Lynch’s batty brain has created a mélange of disorienting visions, interchanging identities, and baffling supplements; Angelo Badalamenti’s dark retro score is timeless and Rebekah Del Rio’s Spanish-rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” is perhaps the most moving cinematic vocal performance my eyes and ears have ever come in contact with.

By the rolling of the credits, I couldn’t tell if I was annoyed, angered, mesmerized, puzzled, or enticed. Either way, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were opened or closed. Exactly what occurred in the interim in beyond me and maybe even beyond Lynch, but nevertheless, it is beyond beguiling. That is precisely what makes David Lynch’s 2001 effort unique, daring, and genius. Regardless if he screws with our minds and plays a practical joke on us, in the end, it is no joke that Mulholland Drive has guts and guile like no other.

Once Mulholland Drive wakes up from its own dream, where it caroms into two separate yet equally enthralling parts, the movie becomes a dream—and not like the dreams within movies that are gratifying and closing, but rather like a real human nightmare—random, eccentric, and unexplainable. For this reason, fans of conventional and formulaic films should stay away. As for those who can tolerate an ambitious mind-cramping mugging of a motion-picture, that confuses more than it resolves, take a ride down Mulholland Drive; I give you the green light. (**** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

Movie Review: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

France, 2002
U.S. Release Date: 2/14/03 (limited)
Running Time: 1:32
Rated: PG-13 (Mature themes)
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabelle Carré, Clément Sibony, Sophie Guillermin, Eric Savin

Director: Laetitia Colombani
Producer: Charles Gassot
Screenplay: Laetitia Colombani, Caroline Thivel
Music: Jérôme Coullet
Studio: The Samuel Goldwyn Company
In French with subtitles

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WARNING: This review contains minor plot spoilers. If you would like to be surprised at every aspect of the film, do not read on!!

Imagine a young girl with long golden hair in a blue sun-dress lying on the plush green grass of an open field. What is she doing? Most likely, she is daydreaming about a boy and pealing off the petals of nearby flowers. As she plucks off these petals, she recites, “He loves me, he loves me not,” over and over again—until the former is the end result.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À la Folie... pas du tout) is an ingenious look at two opposing interpretations of love. The film is comprised of the final two petals and plays out exactly as the title reads. It reminds us all that nothing is ever what it initially seems, and it juggles romance, drama, and suspense like no other film.

Angélique (Audrey Tautou) is an art student/waitress who is in love with a cardiologist named Loïc (Samuel le Bihan). Loïc is married to a lawyer named Rachel (Isabelle Carré), who is five months pregnant with his child. However, even though Loïc’s marriage vows are still intact, Angelique believes that the affair can work. In the midst, Angelique’s friend David (Clément Sibony) tries to warn Angélique that Loïc may hurt her feelings.

In terms of star value, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not possesses the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Tautou—fresh off of her dainty role in Amelie. This transition works wonders, because for anyone who saw Amelie, you expect nothing but subtlety and charm from the beautiful brunette. However, with He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, just when you think this likeable lead is up to the same old tricks, you find that this time around, both sides – the vivacious and the vicious –are visible.

For fans of Tautou: this is her most elaborate and transfixing production. Her obsession here just about eclipses Glenn Close’s erotomania seen in Fatal Attraction. Likewise, the use of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E” is a superlative song choice for this romantic thriller. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not makes all the right moves in all the right places. Even if it flings us right back to the beginning of the story, the film stays stimulating, full of risk, and above all masterful.

So, don’t be afraid to stroll down the foreign film aisle of your local movie rental store and pick up He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. It will surely be a picture that you will not regret watching. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not blends both a sweet romance and a superb suspense, and in all honesty, it is the best of both worlds. (**** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Friday, May 13, 2005

Movie Review: The Upside of Anger

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 3/11/05 (limited); 3/18/05 (wide)
Running Time: 1:58
Rated: R (Profanity, sexual situations, drug use)
Cast: Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, Mike Binder

Director: Mike Binder
Producers: Jack Binder, Alex Gartner, Sammy Lee
Screenplay: Mike Binder
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Studio: New Line Cinema

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Unlike a blazing fire, anger needs air to subside. While oxygen allows a fire to grow in fury, it allows anger to breathe.

In its most commanding stages, anger – whether justified or unjustified – has the power to transform the calm into someone they are not. The Upside of Anger deals with this transformation in a dramatic and personal setting. Throughout the film anger, fear, solace, aggression, and angst surface, and while their effects can be striking, sincerity eventually triumphs over severity. Despite its near detrimental twist, The Upside of Anger is a heartrending and honest look at the gravity and austerity of emotions; its direction is praiseworthy and all six of its lead character portrayals are unpretentious and admirable.

During the film’s opening, a funeral is taking place. Who this funeral is for is not determined until the final 10 minutes of the picture. In the meantime, rewind to three years earlier. Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen) is wallowing in her own sadness and drowning herself in alcohol; her husband left her for another woman—making her the lone provider of their four dissonant daughters. The oldest, Hadley (Alicia Witt), is at her wit’s end with her mother and cannot wait to get out of the house and start her own life. Andy (Erika Christensen) chooses not to attend college and instead immediately enters the workforce and initiates a relationship with her squirrelly boss (Mike Binder). Emily (Keri Russell) wants to attend an Arts college to study dance, and her unhappy home life has stricken her with illness. And finally, the youngest, Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood), is yearning for a boyfriend and begins to experiment with drugs.

Entering into this broken home and zoo of frustration is fellow drinker Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), an ex-baseball player and a current radio talk show host. Denny attempts to stabilize the household and bring a sense of calmness and contentment into the lives of Terry and her daughters.

The best aspect of The Upside of Anger is Joan Allen. This is her film; here, Allen dishes out her career-best. With a March release date, it is unlikely that Allen will earn an Oscar nod, but so far, she is beyond deserving. In a part that was specifically written for her, she slabs on the emotion and pulls off playing a woman who is discouraging yet likeable.

Writer/Director Mike Binder not only penned an intelligent script, but he also created six well-developed characters, brought out the best in all of his actors, and did some fine acting himself as radio producer and womanizer Shep Goodman. But, Binder's best touch to the film is one explosively funny scene where his character is slurping soup.

The only misstep that Binder makes is with his revelation conclusion. As expected, it’s the most unexpected character to inhabit the casket come the closing. While his guessing game as to who is going to die piques interest, it also dampens the effectiveness of the film’s emotions.

However, even though one of the plot elements takes a turn for the worse, the upsides of Anger still outweigh the downsides. In synergy, The Upside of Anger is refreshing and original, and it serves as a fine keystone between the early ’05 sludge and the pre-summer party. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Movie Review: Fever Pitch

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 4/8/05 (wide)
Running Time: 1:40
Rated: PG-13 (Sexual situations, profanity)
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Producers: Drew Barrymore, Alan Greenspan, Nancy Juvonen, Gil Netter, Amanda Posey, Bradley Thomas
Screenplay: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, based on the novel by Nick Hornby
Music: Craig Armstrong
Studio: 20th Century Fox

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Let me first admit that I am a Red Sox fan—born and raised. With that in mind, admittedly my baseball bias may have resulted in a heightened level of enjoyment of this picture; however, that said, this tribute to Boston’s World Series win is yet another success for the Farrelly brothers. Fever Pitch blends its romance, comedy, and sports together with such zip that it is hard to imagine anyone feeling cheated once the credits roll—well, anyone who resides outside of the Bronx anyway. While Fever Pitch may make Yankee fans sick, it will certainly appeal to any member of Red Sox Nation and/or mainstream USA.

Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) may be an affluent business executive, but her love life has never gotten off of the ground—that is, until she meets a math teacher named Ben (Jimmy Fallon). At first glance, and throughout the winter, Ben seems to be the sweetest and most caring guy that Lindsey has ever dated. However, once the winter ends and the spring starts, so does the Boston Red Sox’s training. Lindsey suddenly realizes why Ben has been available for all of his adulthood; his apartment is cluttered with nothing but Red Sox memorabilia; he makes a fool of himself on live ESPN coverage; and, he refuses to miss a Red Sox’s home game for her. Soon, Lindsey must decide if she can put up with Ben’s fixation of the Boston baseball team, and Ben must choose who he loves more—the team that has disappointed him year after year or the woman who yearns for his love.

Screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have crafted a formulaic, yet smart, script. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby and the 1997 screenplay of the same name, starring Colin Firth as a crazed soccer fan, Fever Pitch is not only a sweet, cookie-cutter romance, but it is also a perfect depiction of a sports obsession brought to flickering light that contains two appropriately cast leads who, together, possess credible chemistry.

Jimmy Fallon delivers his role as Ben with both charisma and charm. It is easy for the audience to believe that he is both in love with the Red Sox and Lindsey. As for Drew Barrymore, she works her usual appeal of gazing sweetly and maneuvering her lips in such a way that makes her look like she is an "adorable stroke victim." Combined, the two make a cute couple that the crowd can root for.

The Farrellys have proved their versatility in creating this charming romance; nevertheless, Fever Pitch still presents a few of the brothers’ signature gross-out comedic moments. In addition, even though I was initially floored at seeing Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore running around the infield of Busch Stadium immediately after Edgar Renteria grounded out to Keith Foulke to 86 “The Curse”, their efforts resulted in a rewarding romantic comedy. Fever Pitch combines the love of America’s pastime with pure unadulterated love, and this creates a worthwhile subject matter for males and females alike.

Red Sox fan or not, Fever Pitch is delightful, tender, and fun. And, even though its closing montage, that gives credit to Boston’s historic season, is cut a tad short, Fever Pitch is about much more than just baseball in Beantown; there are many other romantic and thematic elements to prize at play. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005