Monday, April 03, 2006

Movie Review: Fever Pitch

Since The Anchoress reminded me, 'tis the season, this movie is particularly appropriate.

Hubs deemed this a "chick" flick, and it probably is, so DD#1 and I were the only ones who watched it this weekend.

Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon) fell in love with the Boston Red Sox when he was 9 and his Uncle Carl took him to a game at Fenway Park. When Uncle Carl died, Ben inherited his tickets, right above the Sox dugout. His fellow seatmates are his extended family. Ben's friends vie for a chance to get the "extra" seat in one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Ben's apartment is decorated in Red Sox memorabilia. You get the idea--Ben is obsessed.

Ben does have a job--he's a high school math teacher. During the off season, Ben meets Lindsay Meeks (Drew Barrymore), a high-powered, Type A executive. He's not her usual type, but, as her girlfriends point out, Lindsay hasn't had much success with her usual type. Ben's students don't think he has much chance with her, so, in defiance of their belief, he asks her out.

Surprise! Lindsay finds Ben funny, charming, and delightfully quirky. He confesses his Red Sox addiction. She thinks it won't be a problem because she has to work so much. Sounds perfect, no?

No. As the Red Sox march towards the pennant, Ben's passion for them and Lindsay's lack of same does become a problem.

Will Ben grow up and out of his need? Will Lindsay learn to lighten up? Hey, this is a romantic comedy--what do you think?

Drew Barrymore is really delightful in these types of roles. She's cute. She's energetic. She's witty without being cynically clever or drolly ironic. She is really believable.

And Jimmy Fallon plays the earnest teacher well. He's like the boy-next-door or the not-quite-a-nerd guy in high school who was liked well-enough that he was never hassled much, although he'd never be Prom King. His chemistry and his style is different enough from Adam Sandler that there's no comparison with 50 First Dates or The Wedding Singer, two other Drew Barrymore romantic comedies.

No foul language, although there are scenes in the bedroom--it's obvious that they are sleeping together (but, thankfully, they don't move in together). Which leads to the "I'm late" crisis. Interestingly, no suggestion of abortion.

[Digression: leaving aside all moral considerations of premarital sex, why does Hollywood rely so heavily on condoms as birth control? Don't they realize condoms have a 15% failure rate? What happened to The Pill and Depo-Provera? Wouldn't a modern, liberated woman use birth control herself as well as relying on a condom? And Hollywood wonders why teens don't understand basic birth control?]

Some great questions about the role of professional sports in a fan's life. The ending reminded me a bit of O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, which is not a bad thing.

The movie is based on Nick Hornby's book of the same name (reviewed here), which is concerned with his obsession with a professional soccer team in England. Mr. Hornby worked on the screenplay and the translation from soccer to baseball is done rather well.

I'd put this one up with some of the more memorable baseball movies, especially since it examines baseball from the perspective of a fan, rather than a player.

On the March Hare scale: 4 Golden Tickets.