Fever Pitch movie review, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Farrelly brothers, Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Fever Pitch'
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"Fever Pitch"
2.5 stars
101 minutes | Rated: PG-13
WIDE: Friday, April 8, 2005
Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Starring Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Miranda Black, Lenny Clarke, Jack Kehler, James B. Sikking, Ione Skye, Kadee Strickland, Zen Gesner, Darren Frost, Evan Helmuth


  • Baseball
  • Farrelly Bros.
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Drew Barrymore

  •  LINKS for this film
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    Jimmy Fallon is a poor choice to play a romantic baseball fan, but 'Fever Pitch' comes from behind, just like Boston

    By Rob Blackwelder

    "Fever Pitch" is a romantic sports comedy that gets by on the same kind of lovable-loser charm that has kept its main character obsessed with the Boston Red Sox since age 7.

    The movie is not especially creative, the performances are not especially memorable, the script lacks structure (at least until the start of the baseball season provides an external one), and the directing is often slapdash. But there's a saving grace in the underlying, never-say-die endearment to the fantasized (even fetish-ized) relationship between schoolteacher Ben (Jimmy Fallon) and his beloved BoSox. This authentic eternal optimism also gives amusing life to Ben's desperate hope that insane fandom won't kill a newer relationship -- with the first girl he's ever loved as much as baseball.

    During the winter of 2003, Ben falls for an out-of-his-league business consultant named Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), and she falls for him -- after being convinced by her girlfriends to change her habit of doomed flings with aggressive, career-driven yuppies. The offbeat sweetness of this opposites-attract couple and their conflict over baseball feel exponentially more authentic than the snowballing little lies and contrived misunderstandings that drive most romantic comedies.

    Ben and Lindsey have real laughs together (not rimshot dialogue designed exclusively for cheap guffaws from the audience) and they make real compromises, recognizing the vast differences between them. Their problems arise because until summer rolls around she just doesn't quite grasp how truly commitment he is to the seemingly cursed Sox -- despite his honest attempts to warn her and despite the fact that his apartment is decorated exclusively in classic Sox memorabilia, hung on every wall save the one painted like "The Green Monster" back wall of Fenway Park.

    The comedy of "Fever Pitch" comes from how these two struggle to reach an accord during the miracle season in which Boston won its first World Series in 86 years, as Ben follows the team from his season-ticket choice seats inherited from an equally faithful uncle.

    Hit-and-miss screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel ("Father's Day," "A League of Their Own") do many things right in this lose adaptation of an autobiographical book about soccer fandom by Englishman Nick Hornsby ("High Fidelity"). Primarily, they write the characters as real grown-ups, even making their jobs more than just a cursory part of the story (although Lindsey's job is only vaguely defined). It's surprising the script works as well as it does considering a substantial rewrite was required after the Sox unexpectedly broke "the Curse of the Bambino."

    Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly -- who are better at stringing together ribald gags ("Dumb and Dumber," "There's Something About Mary") than they are at telling a story -- do many things wrong, including casting "Saturday Night Live" alum Jimmy Fallon. His attempt to stretch beyond sketch-comedy buffoonery shows more promise here than in last year's disastrous "Taxi," but this is not a character-driven performance. Too bad the Farrellys couldn't have swapped the roles of Fallon in "Fever Pitch" and Boston native Matt Damon in their last movie, the lowbrow conjoined-twins comedy "Stuck On You."

    But two unquestionable successes that boost the movie's entertainment value are its successful capturing of die-hard Red Sox buffs' hoping-against-hope team spirit and Barrymore's combination of sophistication and Everygirl likeability. Lindsey's love for Ben, personified in her willingness to learn her way into this unique brand of baseball fandom, is the unusual emotional touchstone of "Fever Pitch."

    Flawed but enjoyable, this love letter to underdog devotion flunks significantly only in its finale, which takes the plot all the way through the 2004 playoffs, then stops dead in its tracks to capsulize the World Series in a throw-away voice-over, abandoning gift-horse climax for anti-climactic exposition.

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