Sunday, April 10, 2005

Fever Pitch

2005, US, directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly

It's hard to be in any sense objective about such an upbeat movie, especially one that's so squarely aimed at making even the most casual Red Sox fan feel fabulous. Adapted from a semi-memoir by the English writer Nick Hornby - which became, in turn, a humdrum British film - the Farrelly Brothers take the original obsession with soccer and convert it into a full-blown psychiatric condition centered on baseball. The book focused on a key real-life season for Arsenal football team, whereas the directors simply used the 2004 Red Sox team as their backdrop, and happened to be monstrously lucky with the outcome of the season.

The movie starts out firmly in chick-flick territory, chronicling the growing romance between the charming Drew Barrymore and the equally charming Jimmy Fallon, and avoiding most of the usual lavatorial Farrelly Brothers touches. Barrymore's gal pals correctly surmise that Fallon has a deep, dark secret - although the average guy will probably argue that in comparison to, say, Norman Bates, Fallon's hidden side is really quite acceptable. Needless to say, the path to true love is littered with slumps, injuries and walk-off home runs, all of them against a Red Sox backcloth that makes you want to head back to the old ballpark as quickly as you can shout 'scalper'. It's interesting to imagine how they might have concluded the film in the absence of such a fairytale end to the actual Red Sox season (the rumored alternate ending never made an appearance on the DVD).

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States