Fever Pitch Review
By Joe Lozito
I'd say "finally", but I'm not sure anyone was waiting for Jimmy Fallon to find his niche. With "Fever Pitch", a soggy, persistently adequate adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel about a woman who falls in love with a rabid sports fan, the SNL alum fits comfortably into the role of a bland, cuddly leading man. With his continuity-confounding tussled hair, boyish face and affable stutter, Mr. Fallon is sort of a "Say Anything"-era John Cusack without the irony. Cast opposite the hopelessly adorable Drew Barrymore, Mr. Fallon comes across far more sincerely than you might expect given his past performances.
The story, however, is another…uh…story. Previous incarnations of Mr. Hornby's work ("High Fidelity", "About a Boy") have worked so well because they've kept the author's piercing cynical eye towards what makes men and, particularly, men in relationships tick. "Fever Pitch" on the other hand is a movie with one joke: Mr. Fallon's Ben is a devout Red Sox fan. Now, there's plenty of humor to be mined from the Sox' cursed history, and the script, by veterans Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, has its heart in the right place, but after the first half hour or so, even Sox fans may lose interest.
The two leads also don't help matters any; Mr. Fallon and Ms. Barrymore are so agreeable that the film never really achieves any tension. There is one great moment during the "break-up scene" which is pretty much the whole film's raison d'etre, but it takes a while to get there. The movie might have been better as a short film.
There's not much else to say about "Fever Pitch", it goes down kinda like flat beer at a baseball game. Surprisingly, the film was directed by the Farrelly Brothers who seem to be a bit uncomfortable riding the line between their typical scatological leanings and sappy romantic claptrap. Despite the charming actors and promising setup, they never really hit it out of the park.