Perfect Catch (PG)

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Starring
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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/07/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Average romantic comedy with yet another winning performance by Drew Barrymore – what it lacks in jokes it makes up for by being both sweet and charming.

The History

The Perfect Catch is the second film to be based on Nick Hornby’s English football novel Fever Pitch, after the 1997 version that starred Colin Firth. The new version, directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, was released as Fever Pitch in the States, but it has been renamed The Perfect Catch over here so as to avoid confusion. Or to spread confusion. One of those, anyway. The main difference is that it’s been transferred to America and is now about baseball rather than football.

The Plot

Jimmy Fallon plays schoolteacher Ben Wrightman, a man who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes baseball, thanks to an obsession going back to when he was 7 years old and his uncle first took him to a game. In later life he inherited his uncle’s prime location season tickets so he feels that life is just about perfect.

However, there’s a problem; Ben’s love of the game has sabotaged pretty much every relationship he’s ever had, because he always puts baseball first. So when he meets and falls for career businesswoman Lyndsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) he’s afraid that the same thing is going to happen again. To make matters worse, his beloved Boston Red Sox are on the verge of their greatest season in 86 years.

The Boston Red Sox were initially chosen as Ben’s team because they were on a losing streak that had lasted almost a century. However, in 2004, to the incomprehensible delight of Red Sox fans, they broke their losing streak and won the World Series, causing last-minute rewrites that actually make the ending all the sweeter. This is particularly amusing, given that their reversal of fortunes must have caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst Fox execs at the time.

The Acting

Ironically, the baseball results form the film’s only real surprises. The relationship is extremely predictable, though there is a wonderfully crowd-pleasing finale that reverses the usual romcom trend. Fortunately, Barrymore is so flat-out adorable that she carries the film through any slow patches, just as she did with 50 First Dates. Fallon is also very likeable as Ben, which is something of a relief after his execrable performance in Taxi last year.

There’s also a strong, well-rounded support cast that includes the likes of Kaydee Strickland and - straight from the Where Are They Now? File - Ione Skye.

The Directors

If it wasn’t for their commendable habit of casting disabled actors in supporting roles you would never guess this was a Farrelly Brothers film, as they completely cut back on their trademarked gross-out humour, restricting themselves only to a couple of pratfalls and an amusing vomit gag (and even then it’s heard but not seen). It’s clear from the film that the Farrellys are huge baseball (and, indeed, Red Sox) fans, as the baseball stadium sequences capture both the atmosphere and excitement of the games.

The Conclusion

In short, The Perfect Catch is sweet, charming and never less than watchable, thanks to Drew Barrymore’s winning performance. However, non-baseball-fans should be warned that it’s very baseball-heavy; put it this way – you’ll feel Lyndsey’s pain. Worth catching, then, but not exactly a home run.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 21:55

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