a critiQal film review Fever Pitch (2005)

Plot: Lindsey (Barrymore) is about to turn "20-10", and feels like she's missing out on life, as her job takes up all of her time - and her social life is non-existent. Then she meets Ben (Fallon), a schoolteacher, and things seem to be perfect - even when he tells her that he's a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. But, when Lindsey discovers the depth of his obsession with the team, will she be able to cope with it, or will Ben's love of the Red Sox drive her away?

Reviewed
712 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 33s)
  • ...unless you're a die-hard Red Sox fan, there's no reason to watch this one.

The film Fever Pitch wasn’t really high on my list of movies to watch. After all, being a former Red Sox fan in my youth (which, thankfully, I gave up a long time ago – before the age of 10), I know that not much good comes from that team. After so many years of crapping out, they finally win a championship – and suddenly they are the focus of a major motion picture? C’mon. Also, not being a fan of the sport myself anymore (as I grew up, I realized how incredibly boring baseball really is to watch), a movie about a fan of the sport wasn’t anywhere near up my alley.

But, in a relationship, you’ve got to have a bit of give and take – so when Heather wanted to see it (and she picked it over other “chick flick” releases like A Lot Like Love), I was game. So, would this film, starring old friend Drew Barrymore and new pal (after Taxi (2004)) Jimmy Fallon, be a pleasant surprise, or would it turn out to be another What Women Want (2000) take-one-for-the-relationship film?

Drew Barrymore in the past has done a great job of suckering guys in for romantic comedies. She and Adam Sandler have teamed up twice (with phenomenal success) in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates (2003), turning both movies into something that both guys and gals could enjoy. She also helped make Charlie’s Angels (2000) and it’s sequel into such box office hits. But, occasionally, she falters in the guy department, coming out with films like Riding in Cars With Boys, and (unfortunately) Fever Pitch.

She doesn’t do a great job involving the guys in the film – or the girls, for that matter. Early on in Fever Pitch, she’s sick as a dog, and looks frazzled and nauseous. Unfortunately, even after getting cleaned up, she never really improves from that scene. She’s a really good actress – she just seems to be stuck in a romantic comedy niche and, without a good on-screen chemistry with her co-star, she just falls flat on her face. Sadly, she barely even tries to generate any chemistry with co-star Fallon, preferring instead to limp through the film with the littlest amount of effort possible.

Jimmy Fallon, on the other hand, does try to get a little spark going with Drew, but fails. He does fit perfectly into the obsessed fan role, since he seems to embody the kid that never grew up. He’s very childlike in his innocence (at least on-screen) and his goofiness reminds viewers of the class clown back in school. After Taxi (2004), he seems to be really finding his niche, and will probably be successful if he follows in Tom Hanks’ footsteps – at least in romantic comedies. If they ever remake Big, Fallon will be a shoo-in for the role. But get him away from that childishness, and he just falls apart. He does stretch a bit in Fever Pitch, with some success, but keeping himself firmly grounded in comedy will be the key to his success.

The plot tries to take a national event (The Red Sox finally winning the World Series) and turn it into the basis for a romantic comedy. Right there, the viewer knows it’s a cheap shot at garnering interest, since any fan of the Red Sox will probably rush to buy Fever Pitch just to keep a piece of Sox history with them forever (proven, incidentally enough, by the special Red Sox Collector’s Edition DVD of the film). Sadly enough, though, the baseball the characters watch is more exciting than the storyline…and the movie plods so slowly to it’s conclusion, the viewer will swear it’s at least twice as long as it’s true 103 minute running time.

If you go into Fever Pitch expecting the Farrelly brothers to outdo There’s Something About Mary, forget it. If you aren’t a fan of the Red Sox, there isn’t really any reason for you to watch this film. Of course, if you’re a die-hard Red Sox fan, you’ve probably already bought the Red Sox Special Edition DVD, so you can own proof the Red Sox won the World Series once in your lifetime.

For all others, this Farrelly brothers Pitch is just a foul ball.

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