Fever Pitch is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers and is a remake of a 1997 film bearing the same name which was adapted from a 1992 book by Nick Hornby, also bearing the same name. Starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon as Lindsey Meeks and Ben Wrightman respectively, the plot centers on a Boston Red Sox fan who is struggling to strike a balance between his fandom and his new love life.
Acting & Character performances.
We all know the comedic powerhouse that is Jimmy Fallon, don’t we? He entertains millions of people with his fun and interactive late night show every week; a show that needs no introduction, unless of course, you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years or so, give or take. Before his illustrious T.V career took off, he did a fair number of roles in various movies and this particular one is his most revered. He plays Ben Wrightman, as I previously mentioned, an avid baseball fan/elementary school teacher who has pledged his allegiance to the Red Sox baseball team ever since he was seven years old.
Though his character arc felt quite fast paced and disjointed in the beginning, it was riveting and relatable all through. What happens when all you have ever known, all you have ever cared about in your life suddenly changes when the love for a woman throws itself into the picture? Well, the answer to that can be summarized in two words; struggle and sacrifice. Ben’s love life hasn’t been illustrious to say the least and thus when he meets Lindsey Meeks; a woman who understands his weird life and is ready to love him unconditionally, he lets his guard down completely and unleashes his true self to her.
It’s not smooth sailing for him because his obsession, at its peak, overwhelms Lindsey both from a physical and emotional standpoint. As a viewer, I could relate to this; not from a personal experience but from the experiences of others that I have interacted with over the years.
Speaking of Lindsey, she is a character that Drew Barrymore fleshed out really well through her performances. She is your typical corporate woman who is yearning not only for a promotion at work, but also to settle down with the man of her dreams. When Ben comes a long, a good man with quite the sense of humour, she is initially skeptical of whether or not to give him a chance because he’s just a school teacher with not much to offer financially. However, she eventually gets this out of the way and decides to give him a chance anyway but there is another road-block ahead; Ben’s obsession with the Red Sox baseball team. This is where her compromising self reaches a limit and hence seeing the character trying as much as she can to be the best girlfriend she can be as well as being at her best at work felt quite pitiful.
The Plot, Merits and Demerits.
Generally, I am a huge fan of all sports in general but none more so than football, or if you’d rather soccer, depending on which part of the world you are in. I don’t mean any disrespect to other sports but let’s face it, football/soccer is the real deal; there’s no disputing the massive support and funding that surrounds it.
Despite the fact that this movie goes for baseball as opposed to football/soccer which the original movie and Hornby’s book is based on, I think the decision by the film’s executives to go for the famed American sport was the better move. The reasoning behind it is not misplaced; baseball strikes a much better chord with the American audience which this movie was targeting and secondly, there are striking similarities between the long awaited Red Sox title win in 2004 and English footballing side Arsenal F.C’s long-awaited title win in 1989.
In as much as that was a good move, the film’s executives would have made an even better one if they chose to give as much prominence to the sport aspect as they did to the love story arc between the Lindsey and Ben as far as the plot is concerned. Yes, the book widely touched on Hornby’s love life nonetheless, it also widely touched on the sport side really well, and how he vastly experienced the highs and lows of Arsenal Football Club over several years before their resurgence.
In other words, all I am trying to say is that at the very least, there should have been a balance between the mentioned aspects in the movie. Perhaps you might say that my passion for sports is clouding my judgement and I should treat this film’s plot as the love story it was; that’s a good arguement and I wouldn’t blame you for saying that. If anything, I loved the love story. However, I am speaking on behalf of someone who read the book and feels hard done by when it’s considered how much prominence is given to the love story as opposed to Ben’s fandom; which is ideally supposed to mirror that of Nick Hornby.
*The dialogue in this flick was a bit here and there; on one hand, it was used very well to portray the emotionality of Ben and Lindsey’s unsteady relationship but at the same time, it was excessively used to fill in the audience member on plot information that they would have otherwise got if the film presented it to them visually. *The pacing of events was quite slow; barely 11 minutes into the film; Ben and Lindsey who have barely gotten to know each other are now an item and going on dates. Additionally, the ideal climax of the film comes in later than usual, less than 30 minutes to the end i.e Ben missing out on the greatest Red Sox match which makes him break up with Lindsey.
*The main conflict of this flick, as I touched on earlier, was riveting; the back and forth of whether or not Ben should adjust his normal life to fit into the new love life he shares with Lindsey and vice versa felt authentic and I was drawn to it. *I loved the themes of sacrifice and redemption that were explored; tempers flared between the two lovers over whose interests were more important which saw them hurt and mend each other’s hearts. Also, they both take turns sacrificing their passion for love.*The production design and cinematography were okay; nothing out of the ordinary.
This is the second time I am watching this film ever and for the most part, I can say that it’s a good film. Fever Pitch won me over in various aspects apart from a fair few that I have highlighted. The Farrelly brothers have a knack for directing movies with largely comedic tones; this one in particular was not up their ally all things considered nevertheless, they delivered.