If you are this deep into my site, you know my boyfriend is a Red Sox loving (but lovable) fool from Boston and you know my feelings about Boston and the Red Sox (I hate them both). One of the typical and normal couple things we like to try and do is occasionally go to or rent a good movie. After years of putting it off, Trey surprised me by popping in the special collector's edition of Fever Pitch. This was his way of paying me back for all those DVD screenings of Pride of the Yankees, 61*, and most any Adam Sandler movie that has pro Yankee/anti Red Sox references (like 50 First Dates or Anger Management).
Anyway, on a scale of 0 to 4 Balls, I would say Fever Pitch owes me a refund even though I didn't pay for a ticket or buy the damn thing. Not only is it not funny, what feeble attempts there are at humor never rise above low brow juvenile slapstick. You can see the jokes (as well as the ending) coming from a mile away (a Fen away?) And the fact that Damon is now a Yankee make the experience all the more surreal.
It is so apparent what the original and intended ending of the movie was destined to be that the tacked on happy ending feels trite and insulting. It is clear where the film should have stopped. It is condescending, especially since the film is set in the real world and everyone knows the final result of the World Series. Had they ended the film with some vague reference that foreshadowed the Red Sox winning and remained focused on what should have been the real story of the film - the couple - it would have been a more cinematic experience.
The phony tacked on ending is a disaster; the narrator who appears only in the first and last scenes was clearly written in as a desperate device at the last minute to couch the ending.
The biggest problem with this film? I can't imagine Sox fans NOT having a problem with this: Fallon and Barrymore (as their characters) are allowed to run around on the field after a World Series victory! How in the hell would these two ever be allowed anywhere near the field, with the players, no less!
I was completely braced for a torrent of "YANKEES SUCK" chants and innumerable references. There was not a single "Yankees Suck" chant heard within the entire film. Are Sox fans pissed? They waited 86 years for this piece of unrealistic sanitized pap? This is a Red Sox celebration for emasculated fans. Make that eviscerated fans as well, after they are forced to watch Drew Barrymore, an otherwise seemingly nice person , jump around with the Red Sox after spending a few hours reading up on the history of the team and their "supposed curse" as she mentioned to David Letterman.
Speaking as a true Yankee fan, even I'm shocked at the free pass the Yankees receive given that this is the "Red Sox movie."
I suspect that sanitizing the typical bile spewing obscenity shouting Sawx fan, and indeed the rivalry itself, needed to be cleaned up for the masses as the only way MLB would allow the flick to be produced and the teams would go along with this baseball epic.
As for the "cameos" of Damon, Varitek and Nixon, I ask "What cameo?" We see them from a distance eating and yucking it up in a restaurant demonstrating how unfazed they are by losing to the Yankees. Later, Barrymore makes a dash across the outfield and literally bumps into Damon. My point? A movie about the Red Sox that does not give any of the Red Sox even a token speaking part?
Sox fans will undoubtedly treasure this movie forever, especially since it is likely this is all they will ever get.
It does not come close to the sentimentality and emotional impact of The Pride of the Yankees or the wicked glee of Damn Yankees, an anti-Yankee movie even Yankee fans can love.
Fever Pitch does not even possess the absurd charm of one of the worst sports movies ever made, William Bendix in The Babe Ruth Story. All this has is a female lead who knew nothing about the Red Sox until they tossed a script at her. Oh, it also has a long time Yankee fan playing a long suffering Red Sox fan.
In one way, Fever Pitch really is just like the Red Sox: second rate. Even though they won, they are still second rate.
I know, I know, how can the World Champions be considered second rate? Because the movie, much like the 2004 season itself, is a fluke; a temporary cosmic misalignment that allowed down to be up and wrong to be right.
The movie stinks, the acting stinks, the story stinks, and the Red Sox stink.
Fortunately, most of the movie viewing public seems to agree with me as Fever Pitch was noticeably absent from all major awards ceremonies. Perhaps if they handed out awards for self-indulgent phonies, compromised integrity and watered down emotion for the sake of cinematic failure, Fever Pitch would surely sweep the awards. Remember the Great Cleansing that passed for opening day for the Red Sox in 2005? Well, if Fever Pitch ever won an award you can bet that whoever mounted the stage to receive it would have thanked every player who ever wore the uniform and dedicate it to them, thank everyone who has ever seen a movie, every person who ever saw a Red Sox game and on and on. Oh yeah, except for Clemens, Boggs and now Damon or are they all forgiven in the Great Absolution of '04 as well?