4.09.2005

Fever Pitch

The Farrelly brothers have done it again. They’ve successfully created a film with a simple, common storyline with a clean, happy ending. Don’t expect any evolutionary story developments or extremely funny scenes. All you get are chuckles and comfort in knowing that there are no surprises. “Fever Pitch” is far from a strike out, but nothing close to a home run.

With respects to adaptations, “Fever Pitch” translates well on the screen. Having not read Nick Hornby’s novel, I can’t say if there is any intellectual value to the story or if it’s just another quick selling fluff novel. My guess would be the latter since any genre of respect translates poorly into a screenplay due to the intense, complex development of the story. To say that “Fever Pitch” is intelligently written with an unexpected and intense story development would be a balk. Movies like “Me, Myself, and Irene” (2000), “Shallow Hal” (2001), and “Stuck On You” (2003) aren’t known for their in-depth explorations in film school. Their jokes are referenced on middle school playgrounds, and fade from view on video store shelves just as fast as summer break.

As you know from viewing trailers and television commercials, Ben (Fallon) is an obsessed and passionate Red Sox fan. Lindsey Meeks (Barrymore) is an ambitious workaholic. The two meet when Ben takes a few of his prize math students to see mathematics in action. Lindsey falls in love with “winter Ben”, but out of love with “summer Ben” who never misses a home game where his seats are a few rows behind the Sox dugout. It doesn’t take a film buff to know that she has to fight through her judgmental perception and adapt to his lifestyle to make the relationship work.

There’s not much to say about the Drew Barrymore/ Jimmy Fallon onscreen romance. Fallon plays an Adam Sandler role with the awkwardness of a SNL actor pushed onto a movie set. His sketch comedy humor didn’t get a standing ovation in “Taxi” (2004) and it sure doesn’t deserve one this time. Barrymore has altered her appearance from a plump and nerdy to thin, fit, and average. Just like in “Never Been Kissed” (1999), she plays the out-of-water girlfriend who settles for treading water rather than swimming in her own pool.

Ebert and Roeper gave the film two thumbs up, Roeper claiming it’s the best movie he’s seen “about what it means to be a diehard fan”. If I could, I’d ask these two famous film critics how many movies they’ve seen about passionate fans. Did they not see “Field of Dreams” (1989)? “Fever Pitch” is a decent film but it’s not a major league hit; it’s more like a tee ball flick with a few goofy moments.

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