Studio: 20th Century Fox
Film Year: 2005
U.S. Rating: PG-13
Canadian Rating: PG
Film Length: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio:[*] 2.35:1 enhanced widescreen
Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround[*] French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned: Yes
Release Date: September 13, 2005.
Entertainment Rating: /
Starring: Drew Barrymore (Lindsey Meeks), Jimmy Fallon (Ben)
Novel by: Nick Hornby
Screenplay by: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel
Directed by: Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly
A comedy about the game of love.[/i]
I’ve just returned Boston about a week before I reviewed this title and I didn’t realize how crazy Red Sox fans are. I drove by Fenway Park but didn’t think of visiting it, nor did I pick up any Red Sox stuff, but now I wish I would have just because I watched the movie (see what advertising does?) I have to admit I’m not the biggest sports fan. As a matter of fact, I could care less about players and teams, so I’m probably the worst guy who can review this title called Fever Pitch.
This is a Farrelly brothers movie based on the novel by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy. Jimmy Fallon is perfect as Ben, a rather childish grade nine math teacher who meets a young woman named Lindsey. She’s used her education to be very successful in a company and is workaholic. But her success and career initially makes it difficult to date Ben when he expresses interest in her. The reason: he’s a school teacher, and compared to her highly paid world he’s making peanuts. In fact, this movie really put down the career of a school teacher. I found that odd because here in Ontario, Canada, being a school teacher is considered as the direct opposite to what seems to be the case in the U.S. Anyways, Lindsey decides to date him because he is different from her personality in many aspects as well as all of the other men she’s dated.
But it appears Ben has been in hibernation. When the winter months are over and baseball season emerges he is a totally different person. He’s an overly obsessive Boston Red Sox fan and he’s never missed a game. He’s got Red Sox the jacket, Red Sox the t-shirt, Red Sox the flamethrower (just kidding). The name is on everything he has, and that’s the only thing on his mind, so much so, that Lindsey doesn’t become a first priority anymore.
While at first she tries to adapt to his obsession, she finds it difficult to cope with it during the baseball season. Ben becomes insensitive to her wants and needs and he breaks her heart over baseball. Ben really is one of those guys who I can’t stand: a sport nut that only talks about sports (sorry guys, I’m siding with Lindsey here). It gets annoying for her and it he became really annoying to me too when watching this movie – but that is the point of showing their two different personalities. Both of them will have to come to terms with their differences if they watch their evaporating relationship to last.
The movie becomes repetitive and slow-pitched during some scenes. We tend to see the same thing over and over without much freshness to the scenes (like when Lindsey contemplates dating Ben or some scenes with Ben’s obsession with the Sox). The film also captures the moment when the Red Sox wins the World Series for the first time in 86 years. It’s at the end of the film but it doesn’t capture the excitement of what it should have. It was a good attempt given the limited time and resources they had to capture it on video. But after watching the special feature about it I can’t help to wonder why the filmmakers didn’t bother to think about being prepared for that moment. Even the whole lead-up to that moment didn’t feel real or logical thus leaving the feeling of a quick ending that left more to be desired. I can imagine there were several endings planned for this film depending on how that final game went.
There are some good scenes, mainly the fight scenes between Ben and Lindsey. They aren’t heated discussions, but brief scenes that are almost emotionally grappling because of Barrymore’s good performance. When watching this it made me realise that we all have obsessions; mine for one being home theatre and movies, and sometimes we tend to put these obsessions in front of more important things. Like Ben, sometimes we are just too stupid to see it.
On my Denon DVD-3910, Spanish subtitles came up on two occasions to interpret text on signs that were in the movie. Even though my subtitle function was set in the “off” position, I couldn’t get rid of them. Strangely, Spanish subtitles appear as an option twice when rotating through them while the movie is playing.
VIDEO QUALITY /
The picture is pleasing to view on this 2.35:1 film. While the picture is a little soft, it is smooth in appearance and doesn’t take on an edgy look. Edge enhancement and halos seem absent as well as compression artefacts resulting in a clean presentation. The brightness of the image is average and black levels seem a little too crushed. This results in poor shadow detail and undefined blacks. The reds in this film stand out quite a bit because it’s the dominating colour in the film because of all of the Red Sox paraphernalia. It never looks over saturated and flesh tones don’t sway red either. As always, Barrymore is much paler looking compared to everyone else in the film. I just wish her make-up artists would tone down the colours on her face because it’s way too contrasting on her skin.
AUDIO QUALITY /
This is a less than average 5.1 presentation (Dolby Digital only) that seems to be recorded with a minimalist approach. The result: a boring and unexciting soundtrack. The center channel will get the most use during this film and it sounds highly detached from the rest of the soundtrack. The reason for this is because the main left-right channels are serving music most of the time while a majority of the sound effects in the scene are coming from the center. When sound effects do come from the center channel, they sound like they were put there for the sake of putting a sound there. There is no integration with the sounds from the center channel making it a definitive multi-channel mono soundtrack. At least the music has some dynamic rage; it is louder than everything else in the soundtrack and sounds pretty good as far as spatiality. But then, there isn’t anything else to compare it to that is “real” other than the dialogue. Unfortunately, like most movies, dialogue sounds nothing like a voice on a well-recorded music, but instead has that slightly muffled sound and has no sense of space around it. For you LFE lovers out there, there is plenty of it when the music kicks in.
SPECIAL FEATURES /
I’m happy to see that both Peter and Bobby Farrelly have contributed to this DVD by recording a commentary during this film.
There are 13 deleted scenes each of them averaging about a minute and a half or thirty seconds. Some of them appear to be a part of larger scenes that were also unused and aren’t included here. Who knows if the scenes were actually completed and we are presented with what is only available of it? In any case, the scenes add nothing to the film other than length and I can’t even say they are character building; it’s just ‘stuff’ happening. It also shows Barrymore’s character getting into the game a bit more – an opposite feeling based on her character’s viewpoint of the game throughout the film. These scenes are in 2.35:1 widescreen but are not widescreen enhanced. They look like they were from a rough edit of the film put into a computer.
You’ll also find a gag reel here. Not much is funny, but I still find it amusing to watch the actors express themselves when they aren’t exactly saying their lines as we see in the finished product of the film. You can get a good idea of their personality when watching these for 6 minutes.
Two internet featurettes, love triangle and break the curse can be found. They are short of course, and they aren’t too informative. They are just preps for when the film was being released in theatres. What is new is the Making a Scene: Fever Pitch; an eight minute Fox movie channel featurette documenting the shoot in St. Louis when the Red Sox won their first world series in 86 years.
Fox has also included the theatrical trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen. Why do they keep doing this?? Included them widescreen enhanced!!
IN THE END…
This is an OK movie and this DVD release accentuates it. The extras are OK, the sound is OK, and even the video is just OK. OK? You got it? Not much to be excited about unless you are a Red Sox fan and you want to add this to your obsessive collection of stuff. There is one positive about this movie: it will serve as a bearable romantic comedy for the guys who can get away with convincing their girlfriend/wife that this movie is a chick-flick (it can pass as one). At least sports are involved!