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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast:
Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Spevack, Jack Kehler, Scott Severance, Jessamy Finet, Maureen Keiller, Lenny Clarke, Ione Skye
Writing Credits:
Nick Hornby (novel), Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Tagline:
A Comedy About The Game Of Love.

Synopsis:
According to Red Sox super-fan Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon), finding romance is about as likely as his beloved team winning the World Series. But when Ben scores a beautiful new girlfriend (Drew Barrymore), suddenly anything is possible. Now the two passions in his life have a chance to go all the way... if he doesn't strike out first.

Box Office:
Budget
$39.690 million.
Opening Weekend
$12.400 million on 3267 screens.
Domestic Gross
$42.071 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 9/13/2005

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Directors Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
• 13 Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Break the Curse” Featurette
• “Love Triangle” Featurette
• “Making a Scene” Featurette
• Trailer
• Inside Look


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Fever Pitch (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 22, 2005)

Since I babbled elsewhere about my negative reaction to the Boston Red Sox’ 2004 World Series championship, I’ll not rant about it again. Suffice it to say that I loathe the Sox and found the entire experience to be painful.

Because of that, parts of 2005’s Fever Pitch provoke pangs of discomfort in me. The movie follows the Sox’ 2004 season as the backdrop for a romantic comedy, so I had to relive the agony. Despite that issue,Pitch ended up as a surprisingly enjoyable little flick.

“Type A” workaholic Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) meets high school math teacher Ben (Jimmy Fallon) when he brings some students to her office for an informational field trip. He expresses a romantic interest in her, though she initially resists because she usually goes for more career-oriented go-getters like herself. However, Lindsey eventually gives Ben a shot, and the two hit it off very well.

On the surface, Ben seems like the perfect guy. However, he hides a secret: his life-long obsession with the Boston Red Sox. Early on, Lindsey sees signs of this, but she doesn’t realize how deep his fascination runs until the season starts and he becomes a maniac. The film follows their romance and its ups and downs.

During the first 10 minutes of Fever Pitch, I focused on what I saw as two big problems. First, Jimmy Fallon’s scruffy but lovable act has gotten old. Second, Drew Barrymore seems too goofy and soft to play a competitive workaholic like Lindsey.

As the movie wore on, however, I changed my mind about these deficits. Most of the credit for that altered viewpoint came due to Barrymore’s performance. No, I never bought her as “Type A” Lindsey, but she brings a natural charm to the role that makes her likable and winning.

Throughout her career, Barrymore has consistently demonstrated an ability to make her male co-stars better. It should come as no surprise that The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates remain two of Adam Sandler’s better movies, as his chemistry with Barrymore created a warmth often absent from the actor’s crass comedic efforts.

The same effect transfers to the connection between Barrymore and Fallon. Completely ineffective in 2004’s Taxi, Fallon manages to turn a potentially insufferable character into a lively personality without too many sickly-sweet traits. In many ways he exists as a female fantasy view of the perfect boyfriend; the film builds him into a dream man to accentuate the issues connected to his baseball obsession. Fallon works both sides of that coin well.

Really, the main problem with the interaction of these characters relates to the way the film portrays Ben’s obsession. Lindsey takes his love for the Sox awfully well. I find it hard to imagine a woman like her would step into his apartment early in the relationship and not freak out when she views his insane collection of Sox memorabilia. The movie tries to explain that she really cares for him and wants to avoid her usual judgmental pattern, but c’mon – the prevalence of Sox merchandise is damned frightening.

Oddly, this doesn’t seem to bother Lindsey; she doesn’t start to freak out about Ben’s obsession until she sees him as a rabid fan at spring training. Despite the memorabilia, she also doesn’t seem to understand the level of his mania until the season progresses. Lady, the man owns nothing without a Sox label printed on it – shouldn’t that be Clue #1 that he’s nuts?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the movie never makes Ben look more nuts than when we first glimpse his Sox-laden abode. That becomes a bit of a problem, since Lindsey’s supposed to be driven away by her growing understanding of Ben’s obsession. Nothing else he does appears as crazy as his collection of goods, so why does she not react negatively until so much later?

For once, a project from brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly doesn’t rely on wacky gross-out humor for its laughs. Granted, they’d toned down that emphasis from the levels seen in 1994’s Dumb and Dumber and 1998’s breakout hit There’s Something About Mary; more recent efforts like Shallow Hal didn’t feature nearly as much of that sort of stuff.

Pitch almost totally gets away from gags that involve bodily functions. Sure, the Farrellys attempt some laughs related to Lindsey’s stomach illness, but – gasp! – they don’t even show her vomit! That level of restraint comes as a surprise given the history behind the brothers’ work. Sure, Pitch wasn’t their baby; they came onto the project late. Still, they easily could have morphed the material into something more disgusting.

I’m glad they didn’t, for those elements would mar the modest charms of Fever Pitch. To be sure, one shouldn’t expect anything dynamic or revelatory from this moderately amusing date flick. However, the talents of its lead actors combine with the restraint of its directors to create a consistently amiable and enjoyable movie.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Fever Pitch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film offered a transfer with a mix of positives and only a few negatives.

Sharpness seemed slightly erratic. Most of the film appeared reasonably distinct and well defined, but some mild softness interfered on occasion. However, those concerns appeared modest, as the majority of it came across as acceptably crisp. Jagged edges and moiré effects presented no issues, but I did notice some light edge enhancement on a few occasions. I noticed no print flaws, as the movie stayed clean.

Colors usually came across as acceptably clear and accurate, but they occasionally appeared just a little muddy. Interiors sometimes seemed a bit flat and murky; exterior shots displayed stronger and more intense hues. Still, the colors generally worked well.. Black levels appeared reasonably dense and distinct, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy without excessive opacity. Despite some minor complaints, the transfer was usually quite good.

If you expect a slam-bang Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack from Fever Pitch, you’ll end up disappointed. The film offered a mix typical of comedies, as the soundfield remained largely oriented toward the front speakers. That domain showed very solid stereo presence for music, and it also offered some modest sense of atmosphere. Elements blended together reasonably well, though the film rarely offered a very involving setting.

Surround usage usually tended toward general reinforcement of the music and effects. A few segments displayed greater activity, but the surrounds mainly remained fairly passive. Even shots at ballgames usually stayed with modest crowd ambience and little more.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech appeared natural and warm, with no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects came across as distinct and accurate, and they displayed good low-end response when appropriate. Music also demonstrated solid dynamics and fidelity. The score and songs showed bright highs and fairly rich bass, and the track seemed to replicate the source material well. While you’ll never use Fever Pitch to show off your system, the audio seemed adequate for the subject matter.

As we head to the extras, we open with an audio commentary with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. Past Farrelly commentaries have been tedious due to their obsession with naming names. Often they do little more than just tell us the identities of cast and crewmembers. This trend continues here, though perhaps not as badly as in the past.

One of the reasons for that is because the Farrellys didn’t do all the casting themselves; they came onto the project as semi-hired hands and those issues were handled by Drew Barrymore’s production company. That’s one issue discussed in he commentary, along with adaptation issues and modifications to the script, changing things on the set, working with the actors, shooting in Toronto, filming Sox games and working with the team, and the use of Boston accents. As always, the naming of participants gets tiresome at times, but the Farrellys offer enough decent information to make this a generally useful piece. They also sprinkle some humor in the mix, so count this as a flawed but mostly entertaining track.

13 Deleted Scenes appear. We see a lot more of Ben’s first trip to Fenway as well as a longer take on the first trip Ben and Lindsey take together and the fallout after his initial meeting with her parents. The rest of the clips mostly flesh out existing concepts. We see some interesting stuff, and some of it helps expand things. For instance, the scene in which they argue after he meets her parents makes sense. Overall, the clips are good to see.

The standard Gag Reel comes next. In this five-minute and 59-second compilation, we find a lot of the usual flubs and giggles. A few moderately amusing bits emerge, but don’t expect much out of the ordinary here.

Next comes a featurette called Love Triangle. The two-minute and 10-second short includes movie clips and comments from actor Drew Barrymore. She discusses the story and her character. It’s just a promotional piece with no information on display.

Break the Curse offers a two-minute and 42-second featurette. We hear from Bobby Farrelly, Drew Barrymore, Peter Farrelly, producer Bradley Thomas, and actor Jimmy Fallon. They talk about shooting the scenes at the World Series. It’s not a substantial program, but it offers a few decent tidbits.

In Making a Scene, we get an eight-minute and two-second look at the same subject in a little more depth. We find notes from Bradley Thomas, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Red Sox players Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz, and producer Nancy Juvonen. They rip through a few basics but mostly chat about filming the victory in St. Louis. Inevitably, this repeats some elements. However, it gives us a reasonably interesting look at things and digs into the topic better than “Curse”.

The DVD ends with some ads. We find the trailer for Fever Pitch along with an Inside Look. That area provides a preview for In Her Shoes that features comments from actors Cameron Diaz, Toni Colette, and Shirley MacLaine,

At no point does Fever Pitch threaten to turn into something inventive or memorable. That said, it manages its own easy-going charm, and it serves as a pleasant diversion. The DVD offers pretty good picture and sound along with a few decent extras. This one makes for a nice date night rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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