FEVER PITCH (2005) 

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Drew Barrymore
Jimmy Fallon
Miranda Black
Brandon Craggs
Ione Skye
JoBeth Williams
Marissa Winokur
Jessamy Finet
Isabella Fink
Evan Helmuth

Bobby & Peter Farrelly



Time: 110 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romantic Comedy

While watching this film was a pleasant enough experience filled with some laughs and a little romance, it lacks the spark of real passion between Barrymore and Fallon that would push it from entertaining to sublime. In this case, what comes between our two young lovers is his unquenchable obsession with the Red Sox – something many women can relate to regardless of team or sport. While the concept is an interesting one, being a romantic comedy the story merely touches the surface of the troubles that being involved with a fanatic can bring. Barrymore and Fallon clearly enjoy each other's company and share a few truly sweet moments, but they fail to click as a couple you believe are going to live happily ever after. They come off more as best friends than undying lovers. I was genuinely skeptical about Fallon as a romantic lead, but he actually holds his own and makes you root for him to win her heart. He plays it pretty straight here and that goes a long way to believing in him as a viable love interest. It's too bad the story fails to generate any suspense in that arena, leaving the audience watching a game where you already know the final score.

It's clear those funding this film wanted to hedge their bets – sports films don't generally do well at the box office – and that shows in the storytelling. Sure, Sox fans will go to once again relive the wild ride that was the 2004 season, but they are going to be vastly disappointed. Though the filmmakers had unprecedented access to the team, there's very little actual footage of games, which kind of hurts a movie about the joys and pains of being a baseball fan, especially a Boston fan. Granted they want to appeal to more than just Sox and baseball fans, but the film needed to show more of the sport – and it's almost supernatural pull on its' fans – in order to give his obsession a greater justification and his potential sacrifice more meaning. A closet fulll of Sox jerseys and a house decorated with memoribilia is supposed to convince the audience of his deep love for the team, but that's just not enough to convey the message. Each season is like falling in love, full of hope and joy, heartache and disappointment, yet all the story focuses on is the pain, leaving one to wonder why he didn't give up his tickets sooner.

"No, when you're drunk I'm a better lover."

That being said, this is a film about people, not baseball, and the relationship they build for Fallon and Barrymore is filled with fairly complex issues that give the story real poignancy and heart. The ending is quite ridiculous – no Boston fan would give up their season tickets if they were still breathing – but exciting and lovely all the same. Much to my delight, the Farrelly Brothers trademark gross out humor is kept to a minimum here. There's plenty of physical comedy, just nothing that will offend. You'll laugh, but not bust a gut. If you've seen any of Barrymore's recent romance work you won't be overwhelmed by what she does here, but she's believable enough and certainly up to the challenge. In fact, she raises Fallon's game. When all is said and done FEVER PITCH is a cute, charming and silly movie that both men and women can enjoy. It has less to do with sports than the ads lead you to believe, which will be a bummer to the guys in the audience, but will please most of the ladies. While the film helped us get jazzed for opening day – and dreaming of a repeat of last season – it won't be remembered past Memorial Day.

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