Written by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, and Nick Hornby
Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Ben lives in Boston. Ben is a baseball fan. Therefore, Ben has had a difficult life. Even worse than being a Mets fan in the shadow of the Yankees.
When Ben grows up, he’s a schoolteacher. One day, he brings a group of kids to a mathematics firm where he meets Lindsay. Ben is a major geek about baseball. Lindsay is a major geek about math. The two immediately click, just before the start of the 2004 baseball season.
It’s the off-season, so Lindsay doesn’t immediately comprehend the depth of Ben’s love of all things Red Sox. this is despite the Red Sox bedding, the Red Sox books, the Red Sox pictures, Red Sox towels, Red Sox banners, Red Sox shower curtain, Red Sox cups, Red Sox wallpaper… You get the picture.
Those of us who are baseball fans know what happened to the Red Sox in the 2004 baseball season. Setting the romance of a baseball-obsessed man with a workaholic woman is an interesting concept. In many ways, Ben has never grown up. In many ways, Lindsay is controlling although she doesn’t want to admit it.
Ben was left season tickets behind home plate at Fenway Park by his deceased uncle who was the one who introduced Ben to the Red Sox in the first place. His world revolves around them. Spring training is what February break is meant for. Draft day is the day the tickets arrive and he decides which friends will get to go with him to which games. Pivotal series – such as those with the Yankees – are moments when all outside activity ceases to exist.
Believe me, I know what that’s like. I could be the female version of this person only about the Mets.
But Ben is a nice guy if a little eccentric when it comes to the Red Sox. When he meets Lindsay, it seems to work for a while. She has her interest and he has his. She doesn’t quite understand his love of all things Red Sox but sees a sweetness and a passion in him that keeps her around. In turn, he doesn’t mind all the time she spends at her job or out of town.
When Lindsay pushes Ben to miss an important game for a friend’s birthday party all heck breaks loose, both on the field and in their relationship. It’s the ultimate test of what one will sacrifice for someone you love. Would I give up season tickets behind home plate to please a (potential) spouse (providing I still lived in New York)? Not on your life.
In any other hands, this movie could have been terrible. I avoided it for a while just because I thought it was going to be stupid. Instead, it was a sweet movie about two passionate people who love each other and who have to work on their relationship. It allows for them to be two individuals as well as two parts of a whole.
Ben is portrayed by Jimmy Fallon and Lindsay is portrayed by Drew Barrymore. There is a sweetness to the two of them as well as natural chemistry. Watching them do “the relationship dance” is interesting and funny without being too over the top, except maybe for when Lindsay runs on the field during a game.
Barrymore as Lindsay is no wilting violet or ditzy blonde. She’s sweet, but she’s also strong and smart. She manages to make Lindsay likable where the character could have descended into being a whiny shrew at times. I liked the character and I like Barrymore more because of her work here.
I haven’t seen much of Jimmy Fallon, but he’s great at Ben. He’s not too confident around Lindsay and is used to rejection, even becoming a bit defensive. However, he’s a good guy at heart and that’s the entire point of the film. In many ways, he is still the little boy, giddy to be at the game. Those of us who are fans from our younger years remember that excitement fondly; I always remember walking into the stadium for the first game of the season and the way it would take my breath away each and every time. But Ben is maturing at the right time for Lindsay and Fallon conveys this nicely without losing too much of the boyish enthusiasm. He asks the right questions at the right time which is in the script, but the way he asks with the eagerness to find out just why he’s had so many relationship mishaps endeared him to me.
Fever Pitch is probably the first movie I’ve really liked so far to come out of the Farrelly Brothers camp. This might be due to the fact that they turned over the writing assignment to veterans Lowell Ganz and Babloo Mandel, but they’ve used other writers with less success (think Stuck On You). Perhaps it’s the subject matter or just being tied hard and fast to actual events they couldn’t deviate too far from, but Fever Pitch is one of my newest favorite baseball films.
• Commentary by Peter and Bobby Farrelly
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Love Triangle” Internet Featurette
• “Break the Curse” Internet Featurette
• Making a Scene “Fever Pitch”
• Theatrical Trailer
• Suggested Titles