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Fever Pitch Review

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Fever Pitch

Dir: Bobby + Peter Farrelly
Star: Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Kadee Strickland, James Sikking

This works surprisingly well: I say "surprisingly", since I generally find Jimmy Fallon irritating, and Drew Barrymore singularly unattractive. I think it's her chin. Maybe it's this that makes them seem so perfect for each other here. Lindsey (Barrymore) is a number-crunching executive; Ben (Fallon), an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan. Gradually - inevitably - they grow to understand each other, against the backdrop of the Red Sox's 2004 pennant chase which (in case you'd forgotten) brought the city its first World Series title in more than 80 years. It's based on a Nick Hornby book, originally about an Arsenal fan - there was a British movie already, starring Colin Firth, which had almost zero box-office in America, so a ruthlessly transplanted version was made instead. Yet, whether you know much about baseball or not, it works because the central concept remains true: relationships are fraught with compromise. How you react likely depends on your opinion in this area.

I feel you fall in love with the complete person; if you demand they change, you aren't really in love with them. You can ask, of course, and that's entirely different - if they love you, they'll respond - but ultimatums are a poor foundation on which to build. Hence, my sympathies lay with Ben, prepared to sell his season tickets for Lindsey (what is she prepared to give up? Clearly not her career), though the film is careful to make him adorable before revealing the depth of his obsession. Oddly, he doesn't use Lindsey's passion for numbers to convert her; baseball, with its ERAs, BAs, Ks, and a million more statistical acronyms, would surely feel make her feel at home. For an obsession shared is an obsession halved, as Mrs. SnakePit - who now knows what all the previous acronyms mean - would likely say. In the Red Sox nation, this is perhaps the greatest story ever told, even outside the romance. However, as long as you're a fan of something, it still works; when Lindsey says, "You can love under the best and worst conditions," every true fan should be nodding in agreement.

Purely from a baseball point of view, it's fun to watch - unless you're a Yankees fan of course. Various Red Sox and TV commentators make cameo appearances, though disbelief takes a battering towards the end: could you score playoff tickets for game 4 against the Yankees, outside Fenway in the eighth inning? And really, ballpark security needs to be beefed up, if Drew Barrymore can run rings around it [Charlie's Angels or not!]. But I did laugh wholeheartedly when a foul ball pinged into the stands, flattening Lindsey, and Ben and a neighbour exchanged high-fives over her unconscious body for catching the ricochet. This is true fandom at work. And Lindsey's actions in that final game? You believe it's true love at work, and that's what cinema romance is all about.

B-