Fever Pitch (2005 film)

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Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch US.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Farrelly
Robert Farrelly
Produced by Amanda Posey
Alan Greenspan
Gil Netter
Drew Barrymore
Nancy Juvonen
Bradley Thomas
Screenplay by Lowell Ganz
Babaloo Mandel
Story by Nick Hornby (novel)
Starring Drew Barrymore
Jimmy Fallon
JoBeth Williams
KaDee Strickland
Music by Craig Armstrong
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by Alan Baumgarten
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • April 8, 2005 (2005-04-08)
Running time 103 minutes
Language English
Budget $30,000,000
Box office $50,451,307[1]

Fever Pitch (released as The Perfect Catch outside of the United States and Canada) is a 2005 Farrelly brothers romantic comedy film starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. It is a remake of a 1997 British film of the same name. Both films are loosely based on the Nick Hornby book of the same name, a best-selling memoir in the United Kingdom. Hornby also wrote the screenplay for the original film, but had no input for the American remake.

While both the book and the original 1997 film are about association football, this version, aimed at the U.S. market, is about baseball. Both Fever Pitch films feature dramatic or unexpected sporting victories, the original focusing on Arsenal's last minute League title win in 1989, and the remake on Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series.

Plot[edit]

The film begins with Ben Wrightman as a 7 year-old going to a Red Sox game with his Uncle Carl. His uncle treated him like a son because he had no children of his own. The opening narrative explains that ever since that day, Ben became a die-hard Red Sox fan. Just about everything he owns bears the Red Sox name, emblem or the image of a Red Sox player (with the exception of his toilet paper, which bears the New York Yankees insignia). Ben inherited his uncle's season tickets when he died. The story picks up 23 years later with Ben (Jimmy Fallon) as a school teacher who is still rather immature for his age. He meets Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), a professionally successful workaholic executive. When he first asks her out, she rejects him, but she later changes her mind and agrees to go out with him.

On their first date, Ben finds Lindsey very sick. She has food poisoning from a new restaurant where she had dined at earlier during the day. Lindsey runs to her bathroom and vomits. Ben decides to stay over for the night and nurse her back to health as well as clean up her bathroom. The next morning, Lindsey, feeling better, finds Ben sleeping on her couch. Ben wakes up and he and Lindsey end up developing a romantic relationship with each other.

Overcoming her initial hesitance, she becomes attracted to him because of his ability to show a passionate commitment to something. That spring, he later pretends he is proposing to her, but instead asks her to the Red Sox home opener, where Stephen King (a longtime Sox fan) throws the first pitch. Lindsey attends, but not being a baseball or Red Sox fan, she knows nothing about the Curse of the Bambino or even how to pronounce the name Yastrzemski. The two continue to attend the games together until one summer night when Lindsey attempts to catch up on work by taking her laptop to the game. Not paying attention to the game, she is knocked out by a line drive foul ball by then Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada off Mike Myers. She eventually recovers, but stops going to the games.

Things take a turn for the worse when Lindsey invites Ben to go with her to Paris and he rejects the offer because the Red Sox are in the heat of the playoff race. Before leaving for Paris, she tells Ben she is "late" and may be pregnant with his child, though they later learn she is not. Lindsey starts to become fed up with Ben's obsession with the Red Sox. Ben agrees to miss a game against the Yankees in order to go with Lindsey to her friend's birthday party. Ben and Lindsey have a wonderful time together, and after making love, he tells her it was one of the best nights of his life. Moments later, Ben receives a call from his ecstatic friend Troy who informs him that the Red Sox overcame a seven run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in team history. Ben becomes irate that he missed such a historic Red Sox moment, greatly hurting Lindsey's feelings. After Lindsey miserably declares he has broken her heart, he and Lindsey separate for a while.

Ben soon misses Lindsey, and visits her in a futile attempt to reconcile. He eventually feels her loss so deeply that he plans to sell his season tickets to Chris, Lindsey's girlfriend Robin's husband, in order to prove that she means more to him than the Red Sox do. Lindsey finds out about his plan during the celebration for her much-anticipated promotion. Immediately leaving the celebration, she rushes to the ballpark to try to stop him. She gets in during the 8th inning of the Red Sox—Yankees playoff game when the Sox are just 3 outs away from being swept. Ben is actually in the process of signing a contract with Chris as they sit in the stands. Because she is unable to reach Ben from her section in Fenway Park in time to stop him from signing the contract, she illegally runs across the field, deftly avoiding security personnel as she eventually reaches him. She tears Chris' contract in pieces and explains that if he loves her enough to sell his seats, then she loves him enough not to allow him to do so. The two reunite and kiss in front of the entire crowd.

The film ends with a narrative explaining how the Red Sox won that game, then beat the Yankees three more times for the pennant, later sweeping the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals in four games for their first World Series title in 86 years. Ben and Lindsay get married. She gets pregnant but the film ends with a narrative explaining that the baby will be named after one of the players, Ted Williams (for Ted Williams) if it's a boy and Carla Yastrzemski (for Carl Yastrzemski) if it's a girl, with the narrator hoping for a boy.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The original plot had assumed the Red Sox would lose in the playoffs, however when they won eight straight games to win the 2004 American League Championship Series and subsequent World Series, the ending had to be rewritten and additional scenes were shot in St. Louis, Missouri.[2]

Originally, Shawn Levy, who was a huge fan of the works of Nick Hornby for years, was attached to direct with Gwyneth Paltrow playing Lindsey.[3] However, after reading the script, Paltrow found it mediocre and she turned down the role.[4] Brian Robbins replaced Levy, but he quit the project as well.[5] After Drew Barrymore replaced Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon joined the cast, Jay Russell,[6] P.J. Hogan,[7] Luke Greenfield,[8] and Mira Nair were all rumored candidates to direct until the studios hired the Farrelly brothers to take the helm for the film.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 64% of 171 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it got a rating average of 6.2 out of 10.[9] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 56 based on 37 reviews.[10]

From a cinematographic and literary perspective, the film received some favorable criticism from experts Roger Ebert[11] and James Berardinelli.[12]

The film opened at #3 and grossed $12.4 million in its opening weekend. The final North American gross of the film was $42,071,069, and the worldwide gross was $50,451,307.[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

Fever Pitch: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released April 26, 2005 (2005-04-26)
Length 54:23[13]
Label BulletProof Music/Rykodisc
  1. The Standells - "Dirty Water"
  2. Dropkick Murphys - "Tessie"
  3. Tears for Fears - "Who Killed Tangerine?"
  4. Popium - "Sooner or Later"
  5. Ivy - "Thinking About You"
  6. Nick Drake - "Northern Sky"
  7. Marah - "My Heart Is the Bums on the Street"
  8. Steve Wynn - "Second Best"
  9. The J. Geils Band - "Whammer Jammer" (Live Version)[14]
  10. The Human League - "(Keep Feeling) Fascination"
  11. Chic - "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)"
  12. Joe Pernice - "Moonshot Manny"
  13. Jonathan Richman - "As We Walk to Fenway Park in Boston Town"
  14. Mad Larry - "Window Pane"
  15. Hurricane Smith - "Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?"

References[edit]

External links[edit]