This film is also known as The Perfect Catch, and is based on Nick Hornby’s novel Fever Pitch. The book was originally adapted in 1997, into a film starring Colin Firth as a die-hard fan of Arsenal football (or soccer) team. The comedy explores how his love for the team affects his romantic relationship. In this American adaptation, Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon) is a Boston Red Sox fan, who falls for Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore). However, they initially meet out of the baseball season, so it’s only when the season starts that she realises that she will always have to compete with the Sox for Ben’s affections.
I haven’t seen the 1997 film – I like Colin Firth a lot, but football leaves me cold. However, I do enjoy baseball, and recently had some wonderful times watching three Red Sox games (two of which were at their home ground, Fenway Park). You don’t have to be a baseball fan, or a Sox fan to enjoy this film, but I do think it helps.
The movie is set during the 2004 World Series, which the Sox unexpectedly won, thereby beating the Curse of the Bambino. (In fact, it was originally assumed that the Sox would lose, so when they won, the ending of the film had to be re-written).
I really liked the film. Jimmy Fallon was terrific as Ben – sweet and affectionate, as long as nothing got in the way of him watching any of his team’s games. Despite the way that he stretched his girlfriend’s patience to the limit, he was really likeable throughout. Drew Barrymore was also lovely as Lindsey. Her character was a workaholic (in many ways, as obsessed with her job as Ben was with the Sox), and in the hands of a different actress, Lindsey might not have been likeable, but Barrymore is very warm and hard to dislike.
There are loads of laugh-out-loud moments, and lots of physical comedy. The ending is – maybe – quite predictable, but I really liked it anyway, and it was great to see actual players from the Red Sox in the film, although none of them had a speaking part.
It’s an undemanding, but very enjoyable film, great for any time, but especially if you’ve just been, or are planning to go to Fenway Park!
Year of release: 2005
Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Producers: Drew Barrymore, David Evans, Marc S. Fischer, Nick Hornby, Alan Greenspan, Nancy Juvonen, Kris Meyer, Gil Netter, Hal Olofsson, Amanda Posey, Gwenn Stroman, Bradley Thomas
Writers: Nick Hornby (novel), Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
Main cast: Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Jack Kehler, Ione Skye, KaDee Strickland, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Willie Garson, Evan Helmuth