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Fever Pitch (2005)

The Perfect Catch

A comedy about the game of love.

Directed by:

Bobby Farrelly

Peter Farrelly

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: PG

Country: United States

When Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) finds out that her new beau Ben (Jimmy Fallon) is a big-time Boston Red Sox fan, her response is music to his ears. “You’re a romantic with a lyrical soul,” she tells him. “You can live under the best and worst conditions.” Exactly! She’s got it in one. THAT, peeps, is why sports fans are the best sort of people. But just try reminding her of that a few weeks down the line when the season’s started and those carefree weekend barbecues have turned into afternoons of sitting in the stands yelling mindless abuse at the opposition’s best player. Oh yes, it’s a different story then, isn’t it? Well, ISN’T IT??

Ben and Lindsey’s problem in ‘Fever Pitch’ is a familiar one, particularly if you’ve ever read Nick Hornby’s book of the same name or seen the disappointing 1997 adaptation starring Colin Firth. This American attempt at transferring Hornby’s cult favourite to the big screen is less faithful to the source material than Firth’s effort (most notably in the switch from football/soccer to baseball), but it’s also far more successful.

Here, Barrymore and Fallon make a believable couple with the effect that, when their relationship starts to go tits-up, you’ve got enough invested in it to actually care. In fact, from a Fallon point of view it’s even good enough to exorcise the still-lingering ghost of last year’s appalling ‘Taxi’ (although Barrymore still has a lot of work to do if she’s after forgiveness for inflicting not one but TWO ‘Charlie’s Angels’ movies upon us). And, for a movie hinging so intrinsically upon the fortunes of a perennially-losing baseball side, it’s perhaps ironic that it has such a strong winning team pulling the strings behind-the-scenes. After all, directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly are among the best comedy helmsmen in the business, and writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel previously penned the likes of ‘Splash’. ‘Parenthood’ and even the occasional episode of ‘Happy Days’. Their finished product might not quite hit a home run, but it’s certainly got a lot of its bases covered.

It's Got: A fresh enough premise to avoid throwing in too many clichés.

It Needs: Some more romantic leeway for us poor misunderstood sports fans.

Alternatives:

Fever Pitch

Summary

An entertaining rom-com about a relationship in need of a sporting chance.

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