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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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New Farrelley Bros flick delivers warmth, laughs

Grade: B

Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon star in the surprisingly genuine romantic comedy “Fever Pitch,” set in Boston, Mass.

Fallon plays Ben, a fun-loving math teacher who takes his class on a career field trip and meets Lindsey, played by Barrymore.

Ben woos sweet Lindsey with caring actions and constant jokes, including some great ones reflecting Barrymore’s real-life persona. “Anything I say about you would be an understatement,” Ben says to Lindsey.

Their relationship begins almost immediately as the supporting characters interact with the leads then easily fade into the background. None of the supporting characters are particularly memorable, which keeps your focus on the well-documented romance.

The plot also provides some childhood background about Ben, a likeable, people-person who lives and breathes Boston Red Sox baseball. Lindsey devotes a lot of work time into her burgeoning career.

Ben and Lindsey struggle to retain their personal lives as they grow stronger as a couple, which sets up some real-life challenges that connect well with audiences.

The conflict comes when their life obsessions clash as they try to accommodate each other.

The plot progresses well in a month-by-month timeline that coincides with Ben’s hidden passion — baseball and the Boston Red Sox.

Lindsey eventually complains how Ben is “lost in the game” with an apartment that looks like a Red Sox gift shop complete with Yankee toilet paper.

Ben sees Lindsey’s workaholic schedule as more socially acceptable, but still an addiction that takes away from their quality time together.

Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly (“Dumb ‘ Dumber,” “Shallow Hal,” “Stuck on You”) create an amazing baseball atmosphere amid the romance.

The Farrellys have matured past high levels of crude, gross comedy and increased their filmmaking skills. They demonstrate solid character development and more focused stories.

You really enjoy the sites, songs, sounds and people in the baseball environment, especially Ben’s friends and surrogate family at the ballpark.

The ballpark group, which includes a sponge salesman who has known Ben since childhood, provides important historical background about the Red Sox.

Filmmakers had two great source materials: Nick Hornby’s autobiographical book of the same name about soccer, a.k.a. British football) and the real life events of Boston’s World Series victory which were incorporated during filming.

The experienced screenwriting team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel add a lot of great comedic moments especially in the first half.

This romantic comedy is also a great case study of the sports fan and how people obsess over their desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.

“Fever Pitch” should make steady money at the box office for several weeks at a similar pace as another Farrelly Brother movie, “There’s Something About Mary.” Rated PG-13 for language, crude humor and sensuality. A must see for baseball fans.

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