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Overall Rating

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 Erik Childress

"No Joy In Beantown - The Mighty Farrellys Have Struck Out."
2 stars

Opening Day is a very special time in the heart of any baseball fan. The slate of the previous year has been wiped clear. The only zeroes associated with the team at that moment are the ones in the win-and-loss columns. Anything can happen. It could be our year! Some of these dreams may be dead by the first of May, but the lineup on the field is all that matters on that Monday in April with 162 games to go. Fever Pitch boasts a very impressive lineup, full of power hitters and strong on-base percentages. Itís based on a book by Nick Hornby, who also penned the original texts for High Fidelity and About a Boy; the adaptation is from Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, two very successful comedy writers from the 80s & early 90s and directed by Peter & Bobby Farrelly of Thereís Something About Mary and Kingpin fame. But like the mighty Casey, even the strongest of bats can strikeout hard, as Fever Pitch lacks Hornbyís wit and the Farrellyís sense of the outrageous relegating it to another chapter of the Fatherís Day/Where the Heart Is section of the Ganz/Mandel resume.

Hornbyís book was an autobiographical take on his obsession with soccer (sorry I meant, football) and its place in a new romance. Colin Firth played the lead in a 1997 film version of the same name. Like High Fidelity, Fever Pitch has been transplanted from England to the states with Jimmy Fallon taking over the role and relocating from the soccer stadium to Fenway Park.

Fallonís Ben has been a baseball lover ever since his Uncle began taking him to Red Sox games as a youth. His obsession over time, complete with Boston memorabilia all over his apartment, has cost him more than a few relationships in his time. Heís about to try again with Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), a career woman with a gaggle full of married friends who so selflessly give her the sage advice to not date a school teacher and then wonder why HE isnít married by now. Maybe cause a bunch of stuck-up slags keep telling their friends not to date within such a low-income bracket.

Ben & Lindsey have a nice delayed Meet-Cute when she ends up vomitus before their first date can even begin; leaving the nice guy to nurse her through the night and scrub up her apartment. Where most guys might fear revealing their physical shortcomings or the fact that they still live with their parents, Ben dreads the inevitable moment when he has to fess up about the true love of his life. Lindsey takes it pretty well. After all, men love sports. She just didnít think he would be one of those fools behaving like an idiot for the ESPN cameras.

Strike one, I guess. But is this the best the film could do to convince us that Ben is somehow off the deep end of the fan pool? He holds a draft day when he gets his season tickets to see which of his friends get to go with him. Seems reasonable. He doesnít want others to tell him the score of the game before heís watched it. Havenít all my male brethren done that at least once? Itís only when he misses a glorious ninth-inning comeback for a social event with Lindsey does he behave unreasonably. It also sums up precisely what is aloof about Fever Pitch.

Benís fandom never quite approaches the stratosphere of a psychosis that is impossible to massage back to reality. Worse still is that not once do we feel outside of the pseudo-extreme nature of his enthusiasm that Ben really LOVES baseball. He knows the names and the curses, but never do we hear him utter a statistic or a favorite year. You would imagine that there would be at least one written moment where Ben speechifies his admiration for the game itself and why its better than basketball or football (sorry, I meant soccer.) Iím not expecting Field of Dreams eloquence, but just once Lindsey should be made to understand where Benís behavior, deep down, originates so she can look at him all doe-eyed and come to terms with it for at least a few scenes.

The compromise of any relationship will somehow come down to letting the significant other have their own time; whether it be with the boys, a girls night out or simply alone. Lindsey does her best to care about the game, even if it means bringing her laptop to Fenway. But her social requests (including a big birthday party and traveling to Paris) arenít unreasonable enough to make us think of Ben as anything but an idiot, leaving his late-inning breakdown as just a contrivance to fit in the inevitable staple of the romantic comedy, ďthe storm before the calm.Ē Why not share the responsibility of blame and change her priorities to making Ben come out to dinner with a couple they donít care for to maintain social graces? The extreme must be balanced with the mundane. Otherwise how can you recognize a true, lasting love.

Fallon and Barrymore donít have the necessary chemistry to make us see through the plot obstacles and believe that they can survive it long enough to charm us past it. Fallon does get the most improved player award though, not finding himself trying to outsass Queen Latifah in what might have been the most embarrassing male performance of 2004 in Taxi. He has one really nice moment on the phone when he realizes the life he was all set to change has changed once again.

Fever Pitchís central conceit likely wonít resonate with true baseball lovers and hardly will make true believers out of casual observers. It needs more love and less whining; a concept that Red Sox fans never grasped until 2004, when they became just as ingrating as Yankees fans. You got close for years, boys. Try being a Cubs fan. We havenít won since 1908. You did in 1918. We had Leon Durham before you had Bill Buckner. Two words: Steve Bartman. And hereís two more for you Ė Shut up! Sorry to unleash my inner-Ben.

Youíll likely smile more at the filmís jokes than let out big guffaws. Its light comedic approach is just that, light, despite the Farrellys trying to remind us that they are still the Farrellys when one character has his balls shaved. Seinfeldís Face Painter episode communicated Elaineís fearful misappreciation of David Puddyís love for the New Jersey Devils in greater and funnier fashion. A film I saw at the South by Southwest Festival this year, Hooligans, successfully outlined the dangerous football culture of the UK, where lads would get double-barrelled pissed (in both the anger and drunken context) and welcome fights with the opposing fans. Not that such behavior is condonable, but itís a passion thatís outright lacking here. Fever Pitch relaxes too much at the plate, fouling off (and shaving) too many balls to get us pumped enough for the next game and likely to be forgotten by the first of May.

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originally posted: 04/08/05 14:02:48
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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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