Just the poster for Fever Pitch is enough to make Yankees fans squirm, not to mention the lovey-dovey predictable plot of the Farrelly brothers’ new romantic comedy.
Fever Pitch is the story of a love triangle formed between Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), Ben (Jimmy Fallon) and the Boston Red Sox.
Ben is a safe, happy-go-lucky math teacher when he meets successful businesswoman Lindsey. Despite their difference in social class, Lindsey decides to accept Ben’s invitation to go out sometime. Their first date is a mess when Lindsey gets food poisoning and is in the process of literally losing her lunch when Ben arrives for their date. He comes to the rescue and helps her to bed, cleans her toilet and dog and crashes on her couch to ensure she survives the ordeal. Without fail, when Lindsey awakens from her post-vomit coma, she falls for the ultra-sweet Ben.
The Ben she falls in love with at the start of the film is not the same Ben once baseball season starts. The film focuses on the couple’s challenge of maintaining a relationship while Lindsey is obsessed with her work and Ben with a sports team. The two wage a constant battle between their individual priorities and being together. The film ends happily and, as in any romantic comedy, love prevails.
The Farrelly brothers do their best to infuse a rather tired script with their oddball sense of humor, but the directors of films such as There’s Something About Mary and Stuck on You go the safe route for this film. There are no hair gel scares or conjoined body parts, just the usual romantic comedy gimmicks. Yet, for the most part, it works.
Fever Pitch manages to be somewhat sincere and has a few genuinely jolly laughs. Fallon brings his quick-witted goofiness to Ben’s character to make him likeable — likeable, but totally unbelievable. He is just too nice of a guy to be based on any kind of reality. Kind of like a hot fire fighter who writes poetry and saves kittens, or a bikini model who enjoys playing video games, going to keg parties and watching sports. The character feels unrealistic.
Drew Barrymore’s character is not far behind, either. While Lindsey has a bit more grit than Ben, she is still a picture-perfect image of an attractive businesswoman who will bend over backwards for the man she loves. It all just feels a little too scripted. The Farrelly brothers’ humor even starts to become expected by the end, a touching moment slapped with something out of place to provide the “funny.”
Red Sox fans will love their team’s influence in the movie. For those who are not up on their Sox history, the characters explain the losing streak and the “family” Boston fans have become. Ben’s apartment is decked out with every piece of Red Sox merchandise ever produced. From bobble heads to sheets, to lamps and phones, Ben has it all.
Fever Pitch is an amusing, pleasant date movie. It manages to keep from getting too sappy while still maintaining the romance. Also, the heavy sports theme and genuine laughs keep a certain freshness about it. It has enough appeal that even a Yankees fan may enjoy Fever Pitch.
Just a warning, though: You may want to close your eyes when they play the real footage from the World Series near the end.
Comedy, PG-13, Running Time: 101 mins.