Fever Pitch has been described by its directors, the Dumb and Dumber Farrelly brothers, as "a love triangle -- guy, girl, ball team." The guy is played by Jimmy Fallon, who spends the whole movie looking like he just got out of bed. The girl is played by Drew Barrymore, who spends the whole movie looking like a million dollars. And the ball team is played by the Boston Red Sox, baseball's Bad News Bears until the Curse of the Bambino was finally lifted last October. "Careful, kid, they'll break your heart," an uncle warns the young Fallon on their way to the kid's first game at Fenway Park. But it's already too late. The peculiar romance of rooting for a team that often comes close but never quite gets there has seeped into his soul.
Which makes it that much more difficult to pull off the other kind of romance, the one between guys and girls. Based on a Nick Hornby memoir about a Brit who's madly in love with a soccer team, Fever Pitch suggests that there's something a little juvenile, if not infantile, about following sports too closely. And maybe there is, but the movie doesn't offer us much insight into why it happens. We're supposed to notice that Fallon's Ben isn't fully grown up, despite holding down a job as a schoolteacher. But Fallon so effortlessly pulls off the juvenile side of the role that we start to wonder what Barrymore's Lindsay sees in Ben. At least we would start to wonder were Barrymore not slightly miscast as a you-go girl on her way up the corporate ladder.
Because Lindsay doesn't seem "out of Ben's league," Fever Pitch never reaches a fever pitch of opposites-attract excitement. But Fallon and Barrymore both have their charms, even a weird sort of chemistry together. And the movie, though rather haphazardly thrown together -- not unlike Ben's clothes -- offers a surprisingly mature look at immaturity, especially given that this is the sperm-in-the-hair Farrelly brothers we're talking about. Slapstick is kept to a minimum, although Lindsay does catch a stray foul ball with her forehead, and the only gross bit involves a dog dutifully cleaning up after its owner has vomited. But if Fever Pitch doesn't exactly strike out, it doesn't exactly hit a home run either. Score it as a bloop single to short left-center.