FEVER PITCH (Bobby and Peter Farrelly). 101 minutes. Opens Friday (April 8). For venues and times, see Movies, page 103. Rating: NN
After stalling in the universally panned Taxi, Fever Pitch’s Jimmy Fallon now has two strikes against his post-SNL film career.
The latest Farrelly brothers movie is on deck to score respectably at the box office, but it fails to prove Fallon’s bigscreen acting ability. If anything, it shows off his limitations.
Fallon plays Ben, obsessed with the Red Sox since the moment in childhood when his parents split up and his uncle first took him to Fenway Park.
Now, 20 years – and not a single missed game – later, he meets ambitious career woman Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), who’s at first charmed and then repelled by his mania.
Loosely based on Nick Hornby’s memoir about his obsession with soccer, the film captures real truths about sports nuts and relationships. It’s High Fidelity with a baseball cap.
Unlike Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler and other man-boy comic actors, Fallon loses a lot in the translation from small to big screen. He can do smarmy and immature and has good comic timing, but he’s all surface.There’s no inner life.
In all but the simplest of sitcom scenes, Barrymore blows him away, even when she’s vomiting or getting hit in the head by a foul ball.
The ending had to be rewritten after the Red Sox won the World Series, and the sweet climax – filmed at game four of the playoffs – is fun to watch.
But haven’t the Farrellys seen Good Will Hunting? The only Boston accents are those of the fans in the stadium. Maybe it’s because two-thirds of the movie was shot in Toronto?