The Perfect Catch

2006-07-12 17:13


Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), a beautiful and ambitious business consultant, may at last have found "the one". He's kind, funny, intelligent and, while he's not as materially successful as her previous conquests, has a good job as a teacher. There's only one problem with Ben (Jimmy Fallon) - he's already deeply, obsessively in love with someone else - or 28 someone elses to be more precise. To Ben the Boston Red Sox is far more than a baseball team - it's his whole life. Lindsey plays along at first, but Ben's obsession soon becomes too much to bear. He has to choose - will Lindsey become his first love, or do the "Sox" have too firm a grip on his heart?


It seems the Farrelly brothers have finally grown tired of grossing the world out with bad taste comedies like There's Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. Instead they've graduated to that most artistically rich and critically acclaimed genre - the romantic comedy. The only problem is they have very little idea of what they are doing.

The film's biggest weakness is its dialogue. Good rom-com dialogue might appear fluffy and inconsequential, but it's actually incredibly hard to get just right. The banter has to sound completely natural, but at the same time completely charming. It has to trip off the characters' tongues as though they've only just thought of it, but also needs to set up jokes, give background detail and move scenes along at a healthy pace. After years of writing the kind of ham-sandwich dialogue that serves only to move imbeciles from one comedy set piece to another, the Farrellys have never developed the subtlety that rom-com writing requires. There are passages where they get it right, but most of the time the dialogue sounds either dumb, or forced, or both.

Then there's the baseball. Baseball is a fascinating, engrossing game and there have been many great movies about the sport. But "The Perfect Catch" does the game no justice whatsoever, making it look static, stilted and without any interest. It becomes a backdrop - a plot device to add colour to the story. This may be entirely appropriate - after all this is a romantic comedy, not a sports movie - but for a movie that dwells so heavily on the game you'd think they would at least try to get us interested. It's clear that the Farrellys have aimed the movie at fans of the game, who will happily fill in all their blanks, while us foreigners are left scratching our heads.

But, for all their bungling, the Farrellys certainly know how to pick a leading lady. Drew Barrymore is, if anything, getting more charming as her career progresses. She literally lights up every scene she's in, picking her badly written lines out of the comedy bin, dusting them off and giving them more life than they deserve. The only thing you're left wondering is what on earth she sees in a schmuck like Jimmy Fallon. Apart from the fact that he can't hold a scene together in a slop bucket, he has no idea of how to pitch his character, and veers wildly between different personalities as the movie progresses.

The movie was originally called Fever Pitch in the USA, but the title was changed for international audience to avoid confusion with the 1997 film starring Colin Firth. Both films are, supposedly, based on Nick Hornby's novel of the same name. Hornby fans (not to mention fans of English football), may find it a little insulting that the 1989 Hillsborough disaster that forms such an important part of the book becomes the "Curse of the Bambino" (a losing streak brought on by the sale of Babe Ruth) in the Farrellys version. The deaths of 93 people should not be equated to a knuckle-headed urban legend. If you're going to do that sort of thing Bobby and Peter, don't claim to base your movie on the book.

The film is not entirely without charm, and there are good scenes scattered throughout, but it misses the mark far more often than it hits. For many people the presence of Barrymore, along with the inevitably cute ending, will be enough to get them into the theatre. Just remember, spending nearly two hours in the grip of the serious-face Farrelly brothers may be more than you can bear, Drew or no Drew.

- Alistair Fairweather

The Farrelly brothers take a break from gross-out comedies to direct a straight-laced romantic comedy. Unfortunately the result is about as romantic as a tax form and about as funny as a car wreck.

Type your name hereTSHEPISHO 2005/10/05 9:05 AM
Type your title here THE PERFECT CATCH Type your review here IT' A REALLY COOL MOVIE AND I LOVED IT A COMEDY
Abraham Lincoln 2005/10/05 2:11 PM
THE PERFECT DUMB TSHEPISHO is dumb Any one that TSHEPISO doesnt recommend
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