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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What I expected: A rather lame overly-stereotypical portrayal of a
sports-mad guy and an equally lame stereotypical portrayal of the gal
who likes him yet suffers while being second banana to his overly
zealous support for his favorite sports team.
What I got: An even-handed story where both guy and gal end up admitting -- to themselves and each other -- that they each have passions in their lives yet each can forgive the other to save the love they share.
Sounds sappy but with the nonstop humor and terrific performances this story works! Barrymore is classic Barrymore: that perfect blend of sweet, strong, and adorable. We expect that from her and she delivered.
But Fallon is the nice surprise in this film. He brings to the role the perfect blend of sports nut combined with the appreciation for the normal things in life, like caring about kids and his girlfriend. Fallon delivers his lines with subtle perfection. He can be caring ("You just ran across the field for me!") and in the same breath be obliviously blinded by his love for the Red Sox ("How did the grass feel? Kinda spongy?") at the same time. Fallon's portrayal "made" the movie. Hopefully, this movie marks the beginning of a better film career for Fallon, something beyond the over-the-top sophomoric humor typical of SNL alums (i.e. Will Ferrell).
In short, a movie that could have fallen victim to stereotypical male vs. female characters rose above that limitation and provided nonstop spot-on humorous lines, most delivered with brilliant subtlety by Fallon.
Hey, I saw this with my wife -- not a baseball fan -- and she loved it as much as I did. It's neither a "Guy Flick" nor a "Chick Flick". It's a terrific make-you-laugh flick. Go see it!
I went to see Fever Pitch with my Mom, and I can say that we both loved it. It wasn't the typical romantic comedy where someone is pining for the other, and blah blah blah... You weren't waiting for the climatic first kiss or for them to finally get together. It was more real, because you saw them through the relationship, rather than the whole movie be about them getting together. People could actually relate to the film, because it didn't seem like extraordinary circumstances, or impossible situations. It was really funny, and I think it was Jimmy Fallon's best performance. All in all... I would definitely recommend it!
My daughter gets really put out at me when I refer to Drew Barrymore as
looking as if she'd been hit in the face with a frying pan, not to
mention her Dudley Dooright chin that Jay Leno would die for. How
wonderful, then, when I discovered in "Fever Pitch" that I really like
Miss Barrymore; and Jimmy Fallon; and the Red Sox; and Boston! This
film is probably best characterized as a sweet, light comedy. To be
absolutely stereotypical, the girls will like the movie for its
romantic charm and Jimmy Fallon's vulnerability, and the boys will like
it for all the male bonding and the depiction of sports mania.
My sports-hating wife, my teenage daughter, and I all found something to like in the film. That says something in itself. It's a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half or so, and is probably a really good date flic, too.
If you enjoy romantic comedies then you will find this tale of two 30 year old singles who fall in love during the American League pennant race satisfying. On the other hand, if you are hanging around waiting for Kill Bill Volume 3 or Sin City 2 then you probably should stay away. The plot contains the obligatory guy meets girl's friends, girl meets guy's friends, and guy meets girl's parents scenes. There is even a guy meets girl's pet dog scene. That's all par for the course in a movie like this. However, what I liked about it was that the plot delved into the decision making process people make as they begin to realize that their romantic interest is not perfect and is in fact a bit quirky. The plot centers around answering the questions; how much quirkiness is too much and how much love does it take to trump those quirks? It is interesting to see the characters work that out because deep down (if we admit it) we all have quirks. Barrymore does a very good job in her role and Fallon sorta surprised me -- he's good as well. I rate it a 7 out of 10 as a romantic comedy. Add one point if you are a baseball fan or romantically involved with one. Add another point if you are a Red Sox fan and subtract two points if you are a Yankees fan.
"Fever Pitch" shows what obsessions or deep passions can do to a
relationship when both partners don't share the same thing or at least
at the same level. Ben (Jimmy Fallon) is a devout Red Sox fan. He is a
fanatic. He goes to every game, his apartment looks like a Fenway Park
gift shop, and he goes to Florida every spring to watch the team play
in spring training when the games don't count. Lindsey (Drew
Barrymoore) is a young executive on her way up in the real world and is
more or less married to her job. When the two of them eventually go out
on their first date, she gets really sick, and he stays the night and
takes care of her. This blows her away and she is sold. The
relationship is full steam ahead, but the problem is that it's
wintertime and baseball season hasn't gotten started yet. She doesn't
know what she is in for.
Naturally, the Red Sox get in the way. Lindsey tries to be a good sport about it and even tries to learn the game and the two of them actually start going to games together and she becomes a fan as well. But things get out of hand when the team gets closer and closer to the playoffs and thats when problems arise.
"Fever Pitch" is cute, sweet, and has some funny moments. Jimmy Fallon is well cast and Drew Barrymoore isn't as annoying as she normally is. But there isn't anything really special about this film. Much of the arc in this film is very conventional and everyone already knows how the season turns out. Let's face it. Romantic comedies really need to be original or have something different to them to escape many of the typical clichés in this genre. At least it didn't take place in Manhattan like most of these films. "Fever Pitch" would make a nice rental and its a pretty good date film. (***)
I saw this movie on Thursdays night after having a really boring day. I
had no expectations, those I had were rather negative. Being that the
only movie I've ever watched Jimmy in is the American version of Taxi
with Queen Latifah(?)...don't ask why! But seriously..this movie is so
cute! Drew Barrymore is always sweet, but I almost fell in love with
Fallon's character. Why can't I meet a cute nerd like that. :) Movies
like that are excellent. Simple, sweet and necessary. Sunday on a
Thursdays. I'm not even a sports fan, but it's something about American
movies with baseball that fascinates me. Probably the fact that we
don't have that sport here in Norway.
(My first comment ever.) Haha
"Fever Pitch" is a sweet and charming addition to the small genre of
sports romances as date movies or movies a son could be willing to go
to with his mother (though the guys in the audience got noticeably
restless during the romantic scenes).
I have lived through a milder version of such a story, as my first exposure to baseball was dating my husband the spring after the Mets first World Series win and then I watched the Mets clinch their next one because I was the one still up in the wee hours with our two little sons, who have grown up to teach me more about baseball through our local neighborhood National League team's other heartbreaking failures to win it again (and it was me who took our older son to his only Fenway Park game as I caught a bit of Red Sox fever as a graduate student in Boston).
So compared to reality, the script believably creates two people with actual jobs. It is particularly impressive that Drew Barrymore's character is a substantive workaholic who has anti-Barbie skills, though she pretty much only visits with her three bland girlfriends during gym workouts that allow for much jiggling and the minor side stories with her parents don't completely work.
It is even set up credibly how she meets Jimmy Fallon's math teacher and how she falls for his "winter guy" -- though it's surprising that his Red Sox paraphernalia filled apartment didn't tip her off to his Jekyll-and-Hyde "summer guy." Their relationship crisis during the baseball season is also played out in a refreshingly grown-up way, from efforts at compromise to her frank challenges to him, centered around that they are both facing thirty and single. Fallon surprisingly rises to his character's gradual emotional maturity.
While the ending borrows heavily from O. Henry, the script writers did a yeoman job of quickly incorporating the Sox's incredible 2004 season into a revised story line (with lots of cooperation from the Red Sox organization for filming at the stadium).
The script goes out of its way to explain why Fallon doesn't have a Boston accent, as an immigrant from New Jersey, but that doesn't explain why his motley friends don't. The most authentic sounding Boston sounds come from most of his "summer family" of other season ticket holders, who kindly kibitz the basics of Sox lore to neophyte Barrymore (and any such audience members).
The song selection includes many Red Sox fans' favorites, from the opening notes of the classic "Dirty Water," though most are held to be heard over the closing credits as if you are listening to local radio and are worth sitting through to hear.
The Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, are at it again. With "Fever
Pitch" the creators of other films that have dealt with a lot of gross
themes, abandon that tactic when they decided to bring Nick Hornby's
film to the screen, something that it would have been hard to do. The
novel, of the same title, dealt with a man's obsession with soccer,
since it is set in England, where that sport consumes most of British
sports fans. It's to the credit of the writing team of Lowell Ganz and
Babaloo Mandell, to transform the book into a language that would
appeal to most Americans, when they make their hero, a Boston Red Sox
"Fever Pitch" is a film that presents an obsessive fan, Ben Wrightly, whose life revolves into the Red Sox season, and who is an eighth grade teacher with uncanny ways for involving his students into the subject he tries to teach them. When Ben takes four of his best pupils for a tour of a local firm, he meets, and falls hopelessly in love with the brainy Lindsey Meeks, a young woman who is going places, but at thirty, has no life of her own.
The story follows the two lovers through the ritual of attending the Red Sox, at home games, in Fenway Park. This team's fans are probably the most loyal people in the world, having stuck with a team that does marvelous things but, until 2004, never won a World Series. In fact, the ending, from what we heard, had to be changed because that was the year in which they finally won the event that had eluded them for eighty six years! Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon are perfect as the couple at the center of the film. Ms. Barrymore is a natural who always surprises in her appearances in front of the camera. Jimmy Fallon, a popular television comedian, turned movie actor, has a better opportunity here than in his last appearance in "Taxi", in our humble opinion.
The Farrelly brothers film will satisfy their fans as well as baseball fans with this baseball tale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great movie for the true romantics and sports lovers alike.
Drew Barrymore is at her best in this movie. As a Drew fan it was quite nice to see her shine after having several flops. I had my doubts about Jimmy Fallon but he totally delivered as Ben the comical, sports crazed sweetheart. The comedy in this movie is great, there were several laugh out loud moments.
Their first date started rocky when he showed up at her apartment with flowers and she was sick to her stomach from eating a new place earlier in the day. Instead of leaving he helps take care of her, helping her change into pajama's then cleaning up the puke on her toilet and bathroom later telling her that she was 'very lady-like...no chunks.' Everything goes great between Ben and Lindsay the whole winter but then baseball season starts. Lindsay starts to realize just how obsessed Ben is with the Red Sox and why this seemingly great guy is still single. She tries to shrug it off and think of it as a good thing as she has a busy work schedule and she wont feel guilty for working extra hours while he is at games. She even buys all the books on The Red Sox she can find including one on 'The curse of Bambino'.
Everything is going pretty well until Lindsay has a false alarm having missed her period. It both makes them both realize how serious they are getting and she begins to question if this is the person she wants to be with. A very touching part in the movie is after she tells him she got her period it shows him sadly putting away a baby sized Red Sox jersey he had bought just in case she was pregnant.
Eventually Ben tries to show her how important she is and decides to go to her friends birthday Party after she said "I had to check my calender and when I saw the there was a Red Sox/Yankee game I knew I would be going stag'. After the party Ben tells her it was 'the best night of his life'. Shortly after he gets a call from his pal who went to the game he gave up for the party and told him "IT WAS THE BEST GAME EVER!!!" Ben freaks out about missing it and ends up really hurting Lindsay when she says "A few minutes ago you were saying this was the best night of your life" he says "well that was a few minutes ago."
So they separate for a while, he realizes how immature his obsession is and decides to sell his season tickets which he inherited from his uncle because if he didn't it would 'remind him too much of what he gave up for them'. Lindsay finds out through a friend and decides to stop him realizing he is doing it for her. It ends very sweetly showing how his childhood love for baseball has been over shadowed for a whole new deeper love, Lindsay. They still go to the games and even attend the final World Series game and St. Louis and it is a happy ending all around. 2 thumbs up!!
"Fever Pitch" isn't a bad film; it's a terrible film.
Is it possible American movie audiences and critics are so numbed and lobotomized by the excrement that Hollywood churns out that they'll praise to the skies even a mediocre film with barely any laughs? That's the only reason I can think of why this horrible romantic comedy (and I use that term loosely because there's nothing funny in this film) is getting good reviews.
I sat through this film stunned that screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel would even for an instant think their script was funny.
The brilliant Nick Hornby usually translates well to film. He adapted "Fever Pitch" for a British film starring Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell in 1997; Peter Hedges found Hornby's voice for "About a Boy" (2002) and when "High Fidelity" was Americanized for a movie in 2000, writers D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg didn't go wrong because they kept the essence of Hornby's wit and humor. They made one of the best films of that year.
So why does the American version of "Fever Pitch" go so painfully awry? The British version wasn't a masterpiece, but it was charming, funny, unexpected and gave us two characters we could like, respect and understand.
But Ganz and Mandel have excised everything funny in Hornby's work. In Americanizing the story, they've butchered it, removing all that was good and unique about Hornby's work and replacing it with conventional drivel.
They've transformed a funny story into a formulaic romantic comedy, never once veering from the wretched formula. Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) has three girlfriends, each of whom has a distinct function. One's overweight, the second's cynical and ambitious, and the third's a romantic. Want to guess how many male friends Ben (Jimmy Fallon) has?
What made "High Fidelity" such fun was not only a good leading man and lady, but engaging supporting characters. In this "Fever Pitch," the six supporting friends do or say nothing especially funny. They're so insignificant, they're not even decorative. The only reason they're in the film is because the formula demands it. Poor Ione Skye winds up as one Lindsey's pals in a thankless role. The lovely Skye must have been wishing Lloyd Dobler would swoop in and take her away. Come to think of it, Cusack would've made an excellent Ben. Of course, Cusack is too smart to attach himself to such an utterly tedious script.
There isn't a single, solitary moment in this film that seems original or unforced. Every plot turn is predictable, every lame joke telegraphed. Ganz and Mandel labor for laughs. The first 45 minutes are so excruciatingly slow, you wonder if these chaps realized they were writing a comedy. You can mark the plot turns in this film by your watch. It's almost as if Ganz and Mandel penned this with some screen writing guru's formula pasted on the wall. When they got to a certain page, they looked up at the formula and said, "OK, the guru says this has to happen now." And, presto!
Directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly don't help the film any. They have no concept how to introduce their story and characters (they hand over the V.O. narration not to the protagonist, but to another guy who sits behind Ben at Fenway Park). Thanks to some extremely clunky writing, we have to watch Barrymore and Fallon stumble through their unfunny initial meetings.
Barrymore does cute and adorable better than most. She's as good at it as Goldie Hawn in her heyday. But even her cuteness can't save this extraordinarily awful film. She tries hard to wring some energy and humor out of this story. About 30 minutes into the film, Lindsey tells Ben, "You're funny." The only explanation for her remark is that it was in the script. For Fallon's Ben never says anything even remotely funny. Fallon is neither witty nor funny; when he does comedy, he overacts.
Fallon was never any good on "Saturday Night Live." He was quite possibly the least funny person on that show. Remember that lame sketch about a radio DJ who did all the voices? The only reason "Weekend Update" worked occasionally was because Fallon's cohort, Tina Fey, knows a thing or two about comedy.
Actors who think they're funny and behave that way rarely, if ever, are actually funny. That's true of Fallon. He thinks he's hysterically funny when he barely raises a chuckle. His stuttering, unsure-of-himself shtick didn't work on the small screen; it's lousier on the big screen.
Unfortunately for Fallon, his role in this picture also requires a few dramatic moments. If you thought his comedy was bad, wait till you get a load of his dramatic stuff. Two scenes in particular - the first in a park, the second in front of Ben's school - are painful to watch. The scenes require an actor with a smidgen of dramatic ability, but Fallon has neither the knowledge nor the ability to make them work. His range of emotions doesn't even run the gamut from A to B.
Ben has no personality or depth. Often, he comes across as an oaf. And not a lovable one at that. It boggles the mind what Lindsey would find attractive about him. Compare Fallon's performance to Firth's in the British version, and you'll understand how terribly flat, unfunny and forced Fallon's Ben is and how wrong he is for this role. Watching Fallon in "Fever Pitch" makes one long for the dramatic depth and comedic nuance of Ashton Kutcher!
Just as "High Fidelity" did, an Americanized "Fever Pitch" could've worked brilliantly. It just needed better writers, more competent directors and, most definitely, a stronger, funnier, smarter leading man. Do yourself a huge favor: Avoid this rotten film; rent the 1997 British version and read Hornby's book, instead.
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