It's become fashionable to make fun of comedian Jimmy Fallon, as shows like "Family Guy" and "Simpsons" have taken aim at the former "Saturday Night Live" star. I think those people are...pretty much altogether right. I continue to think that Fallon wasn't entirely bright to leave a gig on "SNL" that he was lucky to have, and that his completely forced, smug style of delivery continues to be tough to stand.
If anyone would be able to pull a halfway decent comedic performance out of Jimmy Fallon, I'd think it would be the Farrelly Brothers ("Kingpin", "Dumb and Dumber", etc.) "Fever Pitch" stars Fallon as Ben, a math teacher who allow happens to be a very hardcore Boston Red Sox fan. On a class field trip, he meets Lindsey (Barrymore), an executive he introduces the class to because he wanted them to meet someone who worked with numbers.
The two definitely notice one another, and although she isn't quite sure at first, she calls him back after some consideration and the two find themselves getting along well. Unfortunately, Lindsay finds out that Ben has another relationship that starts up in the Spring - one with baseball (he gets down on bended knee...and asks her to go with him to opening day, complete with ticket in a ring box.) After a while, she begins to think that she's a distant second in Ben's life. Given that the Red Sox started to work their way up the standings, into the playoffs and finally, into the World Series, the script had to be rewritten and the production had to follow the Sox as they worked their way through the World Series.
Based on Nick Hornby's book, "Fever Pitch" does succeed in a few regards. For starters, Barrymore and Fallon are actually quite good together, and the chemistry that the two have somehow makes Fallon less annoying. Beyond that, the screenplay is actually quite smart and sweet in the way that it approaches and portrays the sports fan (or, more accurately, the fanatic). There's quite a few fun moments with the characters that sit around Ben and Lindsay, such as one moment where they all remember various events in Red Sox history or the opening, where we learn how Ben was introduced to baseball as a kid. I also liked how the relationship between Ben and Lindsay develops, and how they gradually learn to try and appreciate each other's interests and ways.
"Fever Pitch" isn't the biggest or the best (I still think that honor goes to "Kingpin") movie from the Farrelly brothers, but it's definitely a strong return for the directing duo.
VIDEO: "Fever Pitch" is presented by Fox in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is fine, although not quite up to Fox's usual efforts. Sharpness and detail are mostly very good, although some wide shots looked a little soft.
Some concerns appeared at times throughout the show, such as mild edge enhancement in several scenes, and a couple of instances of shimmer. No pixelation was seen, nor were any instances of dirt or debris on the print used. Colors were natural and nicely presented, appearing well-saturated and not smeary.
SOUND: "Fever Pitch" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although most of the scenes go with the conventional, forward-heavy "comedy" mix, the baseball sequences do open up the audio a bit more, with the surrounds kicking in some ambience. Audio quality is fine, with clear, well-recorded dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: The main extra is a commentary from directors/writers Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The Farrellys actually go less into talking about their friends getting roles in the movie and provide a pretty decent discussion of shooting on location in Toronto and Boston, as well as working with the actors and production issues. There's still definitely some talk about Farrelly Friends - the directors are famous for spending chunks of their commentaries pointing out their friends - but they don't do it quite as much here.
There are also thirteen deleted scenes, a pretty amusing gag reel, the "breaking the curse" featurette, "love triangle" featurette, "Fever Pitch: making a scene" featurette, the film's trailer and promos for other Fox titles. There's also an "Inside Look" at the upcoming movie, "In Her Shoes".
Additionally, there's a "Red Sox Collector's Edition" available for the same price, which has an exclusive alternate ending.
Final Thoughts: "Fever Pitch" is a sweet, good-natured performance with a good script and fine performances. It's not the biggest or the best movie from the Farrelly brothers, but it's definitely a strong return for the directing duo. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, and a nice helping of supplements. Recommended.
The Film B+