When Lindsey, an ambitious executive, falls for Ben, a laid-back school teacher, she quickly realizes that he has another love in his life… baseball. Specifically, the “cursed” Boston Red Sox. And he’s not just a fan, he’s a hardcore, passionate fan with very little room in his life for anything else.
This movie is based on the novel by Nick Hornby (author of High Fidelity and About a Boy), though Hornby’s novel revolves around a man obsessed with a soccer (football) team. There was even a movie adaptation in 1997 starring Colin Firth. But for American audiences, the sport was changed to baseball. I was more than okay with this, because I’m a baseball fan myself. The sport is America’s favorite pastime for a reason and while I enjoy a lot of different sports movies, it’s always the baseball films that stoke a sense of nostalgia in me.
So give me a baseball movie and mix in rom-com elements? I’m sold! I do recall seeing this movie when it premiered in theaters and I found it to be really charming. I’m happy to say that even 16 years later, the movie holds up. Fever Pitch was filmed during the season that the Red Sox finally broke a 86 year championship drought, one many fans blamed on the Curse of the Bambino. Talk about fate. I know for a fact that Peter and Bobby Farrelly were not prepared for the Red Sox to do what they did and end up in the World Series and I doubt they were unhappy with it when they had to rewrite the end of the movie to reflect the team’s amazing run. Seriously, what are the odds of the Red Sox winning a championship, something they haven’t done in 86 years, during the filming of a movie that’s based upon them? It just seemed so impossible.
Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore have really cute chemistry in this film. Jimmy Fallon does what he does best, and Drew Barrymore, well… she’s Drew Barrymore. You know she’s going to be adorable in any rom-com, no matter who her on-screen love interest might be. There are a lot of people out there like Ben. People who let sports completely take over their life and can’t seem to handle their team’s failures. I honestly loved that Ben’s love of the Red Sox was the major conflict between Lindsey and Ben because how often is a sports team the one hurdle that stands in the way of a happily ever after in these films?
The Farrelly brothers have made some really great comedies (Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary), with a few stinkers (Shallow Hal, Stuck on You), but Fever Pitch is definitely up there with their better movies. The supporting cast is pretty great, avoiding the pitfall of feeling like stock characters with no depth and while there are a few “that would never happen!” moments, it’s easy enough to ignore the unrealistic side of the movie because it’s that enjoyable. Barrymore and Fallon really make it work with their chemistry and banter. Fever Pitch is not a rated R raunchfest, but a pretty grounded look at what kind of ridiculous things can come in between a blossoming relationship. It’s not always going to be love triangles and deception… sometimes it’s something as simple as baseball.
Fever Pitch is a light-hearted, charming romantic comedy and perfect to watch in the summertime, or early fall when the season is in full swing (see what I did there!?). I loved watching this again and enjoyed it thoroughly.