‘Fever Pitch’ a base hit, but not a home run
April 6, 2005
Last week on KMTN, when host Dave Carr mentioned what movies I would be reviewing this week, I grimaced and said, “Fever Pitch,” starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. After Fallon’s last flick (“Taxi”), and most anything Barrymore is in, I loathed the thought of seeing them together in the same movie.
I reacted the same way before I saw Tim Allen in the sci-fi spoof “Galaxy Quest.” As it turned out, that flick has become one of my favorite movies to watch now. I guess when you set the bar low and assume the movie is going to be a dud, and then find out that, “Hey, this is better than I expected,” then maybe one shouldn’t pre-judge?
I’m not saying that “Fever Pitch” will make its way into the personal collection, but it was an enjoyable picture with a heart. And having baseball as the backdrop to the story was a treat and made the movie that much more enjoyable. In other words, I was thrown a curve ball after seeing this.
As romantic comedies go, “Fever Pitch” isn’t bad. The fact that this is a Farrelly Brothers film did surprise me. Bobby and Peter Farrelly made this? Their past efforts include “There’s Something About Mary,” “Stuck on You” and “Shallow Hal.” So it is safe to assume (once again) that pre-conceived notions about a film are not always the way to go.
What makes this movie fun to watch is the fact that while “Fever Pitch” was being filmed, the directors assumed already (shouldn’t do that again) that The Red Sox wouldn’t win the World Series this past year. Can you blame them? The last time that happened was 86 years ago, so why would they win this past season? As it turned out, when Boston did win, the Farrelly Brothers had to rush and give this movie a new ending. Who knew?
Barrymore plays Lindsey Meeks, a successful business consultant on the fast-track, working insane hours to hopefully get that well deserved promotion that may have her name on it. Nothing will sideline Linds on her way to the top. But what about love? Lindsey hasn’t actually been hitting home runs in the relationship department.
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Things change when she meets high school teacher Ben Wrightman (Fallon). At first he fouls out, but then she remembers her past series and decides to step up to the plate. Getting sick of the baseball metaphors yet? OK, the two hit it off and soon things are, well, you know … Those beginning stages can be the best, can’t they? That is, of course, until spring training starts and Lindsey soon realizes that there is another love in Ben’s life potentially greater than what she has to offer: The Boston Red Sox!
Ben has been a diehard Red Sox fan since he can remember, attending every game thanks to his uncle who grandfathered his tickets to him so the family tradition could carry on. Because of his obsession with the team, he, too, has had relationship snafus. And Lindsey’s friends (in particular Robin, played by KaDee Strickland) suspect that there may be another reason he is still single in his 30s. Hmmm, what could that be? What does that say about the rest of us?
Oh, sure, I can hear the guys out there proclaiming, “Chick flick! Run! Run!” Not fair all of the time. OK, the “Ya Ya Sisterhood” flick was enough to make one wonder where that extra X chromosome came from, but this movie here is a pretty good date flick.
Like a good relationship, chemistry is key. The pairing of Jimmy and Drew has that quality and makes this movie click. Don’t expect big box office, but it proves that Fallon can still act. The last thing I liked him in was Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous,” and that was in the last century!
“Fever Pitch” isn’t a great film, but a charming one. It’s a movie many may relate to, deciding how to balance their love of a sport, their work, or whatever, when it interferes with what could be a great relationship with another human being.
– Howie Nave is the host/emcee/manager of The Improv at Harveys every Tuesday through Sunday, and the comedian for The X Show every night except Mondays. Howie’s movie reviews are heard on seven radio stations every Friday morning (including KOZZ 105.7), reviewing movies in California and Nevada, and you can hear his reviews every Saturday and Sunday morning on KMTN-TV.