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Awesome: 5.13%
Worth A Look: 23.08%
Pretty Bad: 12.82%
Total Crap: 10.26%

7 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Fever Pitch (2005)
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"More than just a game"
3 stars

Real life and the movies: they sometimes make for an uneasy partnership. Fever Pitch begins as a love story set against the world of Major League baseball. It winds up a movie about baseball, with the romance stuck in outfield.

Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live) plans his life around the World Series calendar. In October 2003, he meets Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) at the beginning of the off-season. During winter, Ben’s an easygoing, slightly dorky mathematics teacher at a Boston high school. Amiable and laidback, he’s the kind of teacher who wanders around with his shirt hanging out and relates more to the kids than his fellow staff.

Lindsey, on the other hand, is a workaholic business consultant. She’s ambitious, competitive and financially successful. Ben doesn’t even own a cell phone, and is a far cry from her usual corporate trophy boyfriends, but they have a down-home goofiness in common and soon hit it off. Lindsey knows Ben’s a Red Sox fanatic - you can’t ignore that his memorabilia-festooned apartment resembles a gift shop. But with the summer season approaching, Lindsey is about to see a whole new side to her boyfriend...

I’m not familiar with Fallon’s TV work, but he makes for a surprisingly charming romantic comedy lead. Ben is so fixated on the Red Sox he suffers from arrested development. But his boyish manner and self-deprecating self-awareness compensate and make him endearing rather than obnoxious. He carries the movie’s main theme, about owning up to your obsessions. Following baseball is less confusing and ambiguous than real life, and the ritual makes Ben feel safe. He loves the Bosox because they’re like a family that’s always there for him, but have they ever loved him back?

Although she’s the bigger star, and also served as producer, Drew Barrymore shares the screen generously with Fallon. Her warmth prevents Lindsey being a stereotypical uptight career bitch. The onscreen chemistry between the two leads is sufficient that you want them to stay together, and that’s the minimum requirement of a decent Hollywood romantic comedy.

This is the second movie adapted from the Nick Hornby novel of the same name. The first, made in England in 1997, starred Colin Firth in the Fallon role, only his sport of choice was football (soccer). Hornby’s characters and ideas have proven straightforward and universal enough to survive cinematic transplanting (and now replanting). English director Stephen Frears moved High Fidelity to Chicago, while American brother-directors Chris and Paul Weitz graduated from the American Pie series to making About a Boy in London.

Now, Peter and Bobby Farrelly are the second set of American brothers to tackle a Hornby novel, though the screenplay by Hollywood screenwriting team Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Robots, City Slickers, Parenthood) only uses the book as a kickoff point. Fever Pitch continues the slide into sweetness of the Farrellys’ last effort, the conjoined twins comedy Stuck on You. There is certainly nothing calculated to offend or shock in Fever Pitch. Judging by the efforts of the Weitz and Farrelly brothers, executive producer Hornby and his material inspire young filmmakers to new levels of maturity.

The Farrelly brothers gained permission to shoot at Fenway Park games in Boston during the 2004 season for added realism. Little did they knew during pre-production that they would be on the sidelines of baseball history. Late in the 2004 season, the Bosox were on the verge of ending an 86-year World Series losing streak. Ganz and Mandel were called in to update their script and the focus of Fever Pitch’s last act shifts accordingly.

You can understand the filmmakers’ excitement, and they do their best to switch step mid-stride. But they become so swept up in what’s happening on the field that the idea of relaxing your obsessions - the message of the movie - seems like an afterthought.

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originally posted: 06/15/05 13:41:07
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User Comments

4/02/12 Rose of Washington SQ Jimmy Fallon no longer appearing in films. THANK YOU! 2 stars
10/25/10 Frank Fontaine Fallon is unfunny & unlikable and Drew mumbles her way through another nice-girl role. Ugh. 1 stars
10/08/09 Kay D. I love Drew Barrymore, but you can't expect her to be very funny. Nice film still. 3 stars
9/01/09 Caro Adorable! I watched it 3 times already and didn't get bored at all..Very funny and original 5 stars
8/17/09 RLan This stunk! The British version of this film is far superior! 2 stars
11/26/08 Leo T cute movie...sappy, but still fun 4 stars
4/24/07 David Pollastrini Drew Barrymore is hot in this! 3 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A great film about two different people who fall in love with each other. Funny film. 4 stars
10/21/06 Tanya Grays It was better than I expected 4 stars
5/22/06 Diane P just ok some funny parts but wouldn't pay to see it again 3 stars
3/07/06 Steven Lewis Jimmy Fallon just isn't funny. 2 stars
11/26/05 shell bell I thought this was suppose to be a comedy.... 2 stars
11/23/05 Melissa Cute, funny romantic! 4 stars
11/14/05 Krisan Very funny, but not the best i have seen from barrymore 4 stars
10/12/05 eddiejohns It's a tolerable first date movie, but I liked it more for the Sox exposure! 3 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns This was a really good romantic sports movies. 4 stars
9/21/05 Eric Fortune It wasn't bad. I enjoyed myself. 4 stars
9/20/05 ERIC ROBERT WILKINSON The Farrelly Brothers surprise with a sweet, funny, enjoyable romantic comedy! 4 stars
9/19/05 Glennyce Paetzmann So bad. Sooooo baaaaaad. 1 stars
9/17/05 Sir spam-a-lot decent (especially if you know or are a fanatic of any sport) - original was good too 4 stars
9/16/05 Jonathon Holmes a swing and a big miss for the Farrelly Bros. 1 stars
9/14/05 kaz likeable,average movie 3 stars
6/22/05 Manu Ginobli Woo! Celtic Pride & Fever Pitch! Hollywood loves Boston teams..too bad they both suck tho.. 1 stars
6/17/05 Britney Spears into pruning hooks Almost good enough to forgive Drew Barrymore for being Helen Zass -- ALMOST! 4 stars
6/13/05 Steph I loved this movie, my boyfriend and I laughed the whole time. 5 stars
6/08/05 Heather I Loved this Movie!! It was filmed during the acttual Red Sox victory!! How cool is that!!! 5 stars
4/25/05 Jeff Anderson Funny & sweet with delightful performances by Barrymore & Fallon. WELCOME BACK IONE SKYE!!! 5 stars
4/20/05 Krisan Graves i liked it 4 stars
4/18/05 Lord Jiggy Any rom com requires suspension of disbeleif...nice look at wanting to make love work. 4 stars
4/16/05 johnny what crap. The Fallon gag is funny for a 3 minute skit. That's all. Strike 3. 1 stars
4/15/05 Marilyn nothing to get excited about 3 stars
4/13/05 Kristina Williams Why is Jimmy Fallon famous? 1 stars
4/12/05 ray boring, not real, what was her job? math? ha ha ha! no relationship between viewers and cha 1 stars
4/10/05 mott the drupal lame baseball joke here 3 stars
4/09/05 Jin No way. 1 stars
4/09/05 hannaho Cute, but will it last a whole season? 3 stars
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  08-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2005

  12-Aug-2005 (PG)

  08-Sep-2005 (M)

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