Fever Pitch is a strong romantic, character driven comedy about a man with a passion and the girl who got in the way.
Fever Pitch (2005)
Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Producers: Alan Greenspan, Amanda Posey, Gil Netter, Nancy Juvonen, Drew Barrymore and Bradley Thomas
Writers: Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (screenplay), Nick Hornby (novel)
Features: * Commentary * Deleted Scenes * Gag Reel * Featurettes * Trailer
Lindsey Meeks...Drew Barrymore
When one sits down to watch a Farrelly brothers movie, one can expect to see several gross-out set pieces laced with an often nonsensical, paper-thin plot. This isn’t the case, however, with Fever Pitch, based on Nick Hornby’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Fever Pitch is an anti-Farrelly brothers movie. It’s not riddled with poop and pee jokes like most of their other films. Rather, it’s a strong, character driven tale about a man with a passion and the girl who got in the way.
Jimmy Fallon plays Ben Wrightman, a Red Sox obsessed fanatic who finds himself in the company of Lindsey, played with eloquence and maturity by the lovely Drew Barrymore. Lindsey doesn’t quite understand Wrightman’s fascination with the game, but she’s up for the challenge of figuring it out. But, as you may have guessed, things get a little hairy for the duo once the season gets in full swing and the Red Sox start winning.
Fever Pitch isn’t a laugh-out-loud comedy and thus, many Farrelly fans may be disappointed, however, this isn’t just another silly little romantic comedy. It would appear as though the Farrelly brothers have matured, going from gross-out humorists, to great directors, ready for any challenge.
Sure, there are moments of clichéd romanticism, but the film tries, and succeeds, in having a true heart, partly because of Fallon and Barrymore’s intoxicating chemistry, and partly because of the Red Sox’s astonishing season, which plays out right in front of the viewers eyes (what a year to make this movie!). There’s so much passion and anticipation infused into this film; it’s like watching a magic show for the first time. Sadly, the film doesn’t really chronicle the winning season as much as viewers would probably like, but the film does offer a few highlight moments of the World Series.
What really makes Fever Pitch shine is it’s writing--not the screenplay persay, but Hornby’s novel. You can’t deny the awesome power of prose that this man possesses. His stories just comes to life when adapted to the screen, may it be this (Fever Pitch has been made twice, once in 1997), About a Boy or High Fidelity. It’s like the stories were always there, just waiting to be born into cinema.
Fever Pitch is a great movie for baseball fans, for fans of romantic comedies and for fans of Fallon and Barrymore. Fans of the Farrelly brothers may be disappointed, but give the film a shot, these guys have matured a lot since There’s Something About Mary. Everyone shines in this unique romantic comedy that will not likely be imitated anytime soon.
As entertainment: * * * ½
As a film: * * *
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen, 2:35:1, Fever Pitch looks great. Colors are crisp and clean and digital grain is virtually absent from the feature. A great transfer.
Here we are presented with a fine Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. This isn’t a powerful track, but it’s mastered very well with clear dialogue and a few nice surrounds effects.
There’s also Spanish and French Surround tracks in addition to English and Spanish subtitles.
Like most new releases, Fox has presented a nice supply of special features for fans to peruse.
First up, there’s a Commentary featuring the Farrelly brothers. I’m not a big fan of Farrelly tracks and this one wasn’t much better for me. There’s just something about their commentary tracks. There far more boring that one would expect from the "Kings of Gross-Out Humor".
Next up, there are 13 Deleted Scenes. There are some great scenes that got cut from this feature. I hope an extended version is on the roster from Fox.
There are also several featurettes worth taking a look at. They include: "Break the Curse", "Love Triangle" and "Making a Scene".
Finally, there’s an always funny Gag Reel and a Theatrical Trailer to view.
And again, without fail, there’s a skippable ‘anti-piracy’ spot at the beginning of the disc. This time they're asking you not to buy pirated movies. Come on Fox, we are the ones BUYING or renting the real discs! We aren’t stealing them. We’re the GOOD GUYS! We aren’t downloading movies and we’re not buying bootleg movies, so stop telling us not to with your "cool, hip promo". It's bound to irritate consumers and make pirates laugh rather than feel guilty. I can’t stress this enough!
A great movie and a great DVD, this purchase or rent is a no-brainier. There’s pretty much something for everyone here...except maybe Yankee fans.
RATED PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and some sensuality.
* Running Time: 103 minutes
* List Price: $29.98
* Available on DVD September 13th, 2005.
----R. L. Shaffer