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

Posted by Hello
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