Making the Grades
Although I'm not a baseball fan, Fever Pitch is a sports yarn I can relate to because the men in my own family love hockey. In fact they have dedicated one whole room to a certain NHL team. Fortunately, while they do have plenty of team-inspired gear, their gusto doesn't quite match that of Ben Rightman (Jimmy Fallon), an overtly obsessive Boston fan who teaches school during the off-season.
Ben meets Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), a mathematically minded project leader, when he takes a group of his gifted students to her office for a fieldtrip. There's a spark of attraction between them that neither would have expected. After a few awkward dates (the kind most couples are subjected to), they strike up a serious friendship. But Lindsey's girlfriends (Ione Skye, KaDee Stickland) are convinced Ben must have some dark secret to explain his still-single status.
With opening day of spring training just around the corner, the mystery is soon exposed. While her new boyfriend's love of baseball is obvious to Lindsey by the d0xC8cor in his apartment and the numerous jerseys hanging in his closet, it's impossible for her to imagine the depth of his enthusiasm, just as it's hard for him to understand her dogged dependence on cell phones and pagers. As their life together becomes more and more complicated by home games at Fenway Park and work assignments at her office, they both realize something has to give if their relationship is going to last past the ninth inning.
Although overzealous sports fanatics are targeted in this script, the reality is addicts come in many forms: workaholics, ardent gamers, overeaters, gamblers, and even dutiful volunteers. Because almost every relationship has to deal with one kind of passion or another, it's easy to see why the film will appeal to more than just baseball buffs. The struggles of give and take in successful partnerships are well portrayed. But those positive messages may be benched by some of the film's content concerns.
Suggestions (and some minor depictions) of frequent premarital sex are shown between the couple and often played for comedic purposes with few serious consequences. When Ben faces the possibility of a breakup with either Lindsey or his beloved major league team, he turns to beer to drown his troubles. That, along with other portrayals of alcohol use in social events, frequent profanities and a well-aimed punch to the head, may be problematic for some young viewers.
While ardent Red Sox fans will appreciate the inclusion of the real team's long-sought-for-victory in the 2004 World Series, many parents will be looking for a pinch-hitter to fill in for this adult-oriented romantic comedy.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Fever Pitch.
Ben is fanatical about baseball and Lindsey is driven by her work. Is one passion considered more socially acceptable than the other? Why do you think so?
Every successful relationship needs a healthy mix of couple and individual interests. How do Ben and Lindsey resolve their differences? In what ways do they compromise their own interests? Do you think both of them made equal concessions for the other?
Check here to learn about The Curse of the Bambino that haunted Red Sox fans for over 80 years.