Fever Pitch.

Starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly.
Running Time: 96 mins
Rated: Rated M.
Lindsay Meeks (Barrymore) is a high-powered executive in an aeronautical design company. Unlucky in love, one day she hosts Ben (Fallon) and his maths students in her office. Ben is trying to inspire his young protégés as to the possibilities of being a professional mathematician. The kids notice the chemistry between Lindsay and Ben and do some matchmaking. Love blooms, until Lindsay discovers that Ben is a devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox. She has fallen in love with a sports nut in the off-season. Come summer, Ben is a different man. Lindsay doesn't feel she can compete with the Red Sox. Ben is not happy without her. Decisions loom for the both of them.

I'm not a great fan of baseball films. There is so much in these films I just don't get, and that's probably true here too. But in Fever Pitch, the baseball is secondary to the story of the romance. Take out baseball and we can easily replace it with the AFL, Rugby, Rugby League, Horse Racing or Soccer, and the story would be just as plausible, and as much fun.

The issues in Fever Pitch, if a little over portrayed here, are real. There are some people for whom sporting allegiances dictate their life, mood and are seemingly the primary focus of their affections. This can be very disruptive of their relationships. Tragically, some people can appear to "love' their sporting team more than their spouse.

Drew Barrymore, who is yet to really impress me as an actress, combines well enough with US comedian Jimmy Fallon to give very pleasing and heart-warming performances in this film.

The Farrelly brothers are famous for taking on various styles and genres in their moviemaking, often with mixed success. This adaptation of Nick Hornby's soccer novel will be a hit with viewers who like a romantic comedy with mild crudity, sexual humour and understated sexual themes.

Fr Richard Leonard is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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