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Ok,you may think that my ultimate fantasy is to have Drew Barrymore run across the field at Fenway Park and declare her everlasting love for me and the Boston Red Sox. Actually, my ultimate fantasy did come true last year. It had something to do with the Red Sox but nothing to do with Drew Barrymore. But even if you don’t root for the Red Sox or fantasize about Drew Barrymore, Fever Pitch is a fun movie. And by seeing it, you may better understand why I'm so weird! Fever Pitch is based on an autobiographical book by Nick Hornby who was an avid Arsenal football fan. Hornby also wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy which have already been made into films. Fever Pitch was made into a small fictional film in England with the romance added that no one saw. Then, the football was changed to baseball, and the whole thing was moved to the USA, and presto you have a big Hollywood romantic comedy.
Fever Pitch tells the story of a school teacher (Jimmy Fallon) who has been obsessed with the Red Sox ever since his uncle first took him to Fenway Park as a kid. He inherited his uncle’s very nice season tickets behind the Red Sox dugout and, as the film opens, Fallon is just another devoted member of Red Sox Nation. The action begins with the playoffs of 2003 and ends with the Red Sox victory in the World Series of 2004. Fever Pitch had to be re-written when this unexpected development occurred. There’s lots of highlights of the Red Sox shown in Fever Pitch. Happily, most of them are from the now storied 2004 season. Anyway, Fallon takes his class on a field trip where they meet a high octane executive (Drew Barrymore). He and Barrymore start dating and since it’s the off season and Fallon is “winter man” as Drew describes him, all is well. But just as the romance is heating up, the 2004 baseball season starts and Fallon becomes “summer man”, i.e., a typical obsessed member of Red Sox Nation. Much hilarity ensues.
Fever Pitch is a funny, sweet movie, made even sweeter by the connection between the Red Sox' seemingly doomed quest to break their curse, and Fallon and Barrymore’s seemingly doomed quest to find love. The script was written by those romantic comedy mavens, Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (Robots, Splash, City Slickers, A League of Their Own, Forget Paris). They don’t disappoint us. I wonder if they are Red Sox fans too. The story rings very true to this Red Sox fan. And the casting is great. Fallon is very believable as the ultimate Red Sox fan and he will almost make you believe that he is a normal guy. He seemed normal to me! Barrymore is great as always and, ooh la la, she appears in this film wearing just about every piece of authentic MLB Red Sox apparel that you can think of. Sigh. JoBeth Williams (The Big Chill) and James B. Sikking have good turns as Barrymore's parents. Sikking will live in my heart forever as Lieutenant Howard Hunter from Hill Street Blues. There are lots of good bits by the many members of the supporting cast who play Drew's friends, Jimmy's friends and the Red Sox fans. Ione Skye is a recognizable face among the Drew friends.
Fever Pitch isn’t an intellectual movie but it has a lot of heart. I laughed out loud repeatedly. A big part of it was just the joy of reliving last season. The Red Sox stuff is done in a very humorous manner and even if you aren’t a big baseball fan, you’ll get it. And it’s so cute to see Barrymore’s evolution from a normal person into a member of Red Sox Nation. It could happen to you!