Fever Pitch is, essentially, identical to every other effervescent Drew Barrymore comedy released in the past five years. The same cookie-cutter formula applied to Never Been Kissed or 50 First Dates is at work here, only this time with exaggerated Bahston accents and some real-life baseball to make it slightly more memorable -- but only slightly. Johnny Damon may look like Jesus, but he isn't entrancing enough to shadow the flat, cliched characters and divert attention from a breezy, shallow plotline -- to whatever extent there was one.

Barrymore plays Lindsay, a well-off businesswoman who takes a chance on love and falls for Ben (Jimmy Fallon), a high school geometry teacher, who at a precocious age became "one of God's most pathetic preachers" -- a Sox fan. His apartment is a shrine to Red Sox Nation, from the Green Monster mural on his living room wall right down to the Yankees toilet paper. At first Lindsay shrugs off her friends' skepticism about Ben and his obsession, but as the season boils down into the last crucial games, she questions his devotion to her and their prospects for a future together. Nevertheless, this is a date movie, and no date movie ends without reconciliation.

Granted, Fever Pitch has some genuinely cute moments, although most of the comedy is lame slapstick, where sharp dialogue and execution are compromised for people crashing, falling, or puking. Potentially poignant scenes were truncated and hollow. And like we haven't seen enough of Red Sox fans this year, they really don't need to be rehashed on the big screen.


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