Published Apr 01, 2005It appears that the Farrelly Brothers have finally outgrown the expectancy of producing gross-out comedies and have settled into a nice balance of subtlety and charm. Signs that the brothers were becoming softies could be found in Shallow Hal and Stuck On You, as they started to hit the lovey-dovey angle hard but still managed to throw in numerous opportunities for cheap laughs via slapstick and uncomfortable visual gags. But the equal portions of heart and screwball have been completely shuffled for Fever Pitch, which is a straight-up romantic comedy that is void of the visual gags that the Farrellys are best-known for.
Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) is extremely successful at her job and her men need to be equally driven when it comes to their careers. So when she meets a schoolteacher named Ben (Jimmy Fallon), she is torn as to whether or not to date him based solely on his profession. It only takes the first date to realise that judging men by their salaries all these years was a giant mistake, as her charming new love interest not only takes care of her when she's struck by food poisoning, but he also wipes her vomit off the bathroom floor and rents her movies to watch when she wakes up. It doesn't take the two long to fall for each other, but Lindsey and her friends have to wonder what dark secret Ben must have in his closet, because no man can be this perfect.
Ben is obsessed with the Boston Red Sox. He's not a really big fan he is the biggest fan. The man has Sox memorabilia in every single inch of his apartment, has owned season tickets for the past 20 years and, like most sports fans, annoyingly refers to his favourite team as "we," as if his support makes him an honorary member. This is Ben's dark secret and the reason why such a catch-of-a-man remains single in his 30s. So naturally the rest of the film deals with how Lindsey has to compete with the Boston Red Sox for Ben's affection, but rather than go through a series of misunderstandings and wacky scenarios where the two argue all the time, Fever Pitch maturely deals with the relationship and we see two people who are truly in love try to deal with Ben's obsession. Most of the clichés that appear in romantic comedies are thrown out the window, and this is what makes Fever Pitch so rewarding and why its realism is so touching.
How much you enjoy this film depends on how much you're willing to accept Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore as romantic leads. Some people find one or the other, and sometimes both, to be quite annoying. But both do an excellent job with the comedic and dramatic aspects here, and given the strong script, we believe these two characters are in love, especially when they are so honest with each other. There are no lies or secrets and all their feelings are out on the table. Why can't all romances be this convincing?
One disappointment though has to be the treatment of the Red Sox's World Series drive. It's basically told in mere minutes through ESPN highlights that were tacked onto the end of the film because no one ever expected Boston to actually win the championship when they were down three games to nothing against the mighty Yankees.
Sure, everyone involved thought the film was all wrapped up before the Bosox's amazing comeback, but when you make a film about a man who is insanely obsessed with a team that hasn't won the World Series in almost 90 years, how can you just breeze through their miraculous comeback? It was a post-season that sounded unbelievable on paper, so how can Fever Pitch have bypassed such a glorious opportunity at motion picture magic? Regardless, the Farrellys have managed to make one of the better romantic comedies in recent years. (Fox)