Publicity Stills of "The Perfect Catch"
(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Director: Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Opening Day : 1 September 2005

Synopsis :

Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) is an ambitious business consultant, approaching “twenty-ten”, whose spirit is as luminous as her beauty. High-school teacher Ben (Jimmy Fallon) is a good catch. He’s charming, funny and great with kids, but has a small… income. Sure, they have their differences. She’s a workaholic; he loves his summers off, but when they first meet, and despite their differences, their attraction is immediate and true love overcomes all. Everything is wonderful, and Ben seems to be the man of her dreams, until Lindsey discovers what a 23 year long obsession with his favorite team really means. Together they must decide if they will strike out or fight to keep love alive through overtime.

Movie Review:

Lindsey Meeks is a career woman who has almost everything going for her - sassy, successful, and on the brink of promotion. However she's never lucky with men she met, especially if they're of the competitive kind, which are often the kind of men in her high-flying life. She laments her lack of suitors to her group of friends, yes, successful people do have their problems in the love department too.

Ben is a popular mathematics teacher who connects with his students with ease, given his laid-back nature. And this nature makes him extremely attractive to ladies - witty yet tender, goofy yet mature. He'll tuck you into bed when you're suffering from a bad stomach, and clean your flat while waiting for you to wake up and feel better.

After a disastrous first date, they seem to hit it off perfectly. Boy and girl meet by chance, boy and girl fall in love, but girl's friends seem apprehensive. How can an adorable man that great be single all this while?

And it's no secret that Ben, in certain ways, is a "schizophrenic". During the baseball off-season, he's "Winter Ben", sugar and spice and all things nice. But come baseball season, he has only one passion, and that is his love and fanatical support for the Boston Red Sox. He lives, breathes and eats the Red Sox (check out his room decor), brings along friends to
games, and even has a surrogate family of sorts with equally fanatical spectators in the stadium. It is his passion for the sport that makes his ex-partners say goodbye as they deemed it as neglect.

This is a story about love, set uniquely against the backdrop of a Red Sox season, with inter-titles (styled in Red Sox's font) separating time. The love life between Lindsey and Ben parallels the ups and downs of the Red Sox's form - when love runs aground, the Sox loses, and vice versa. It's also about the sacrifice that exist in any relationship, of unhappy struggles, of compromise, that a win-win situation might not always be possible. This movie has many
moments that makes you ponder about these themes.

Based loosely on an autobiography of the same title (this film's called Fever Pitch in the US) by writer Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity), it was previously adapted in the UK in 1997, set against the popular sport soccer (the English Premier League), and instead of the Red Sox, the protagonist was a supporter of the Gunners, Arsenal (the team I support till this day by the way). There's a burning question which was asked in the film, that applies to all sports fanatics in a similar situation of facing a conflict of time and attention between your significant other and the team you support. You know your team, but does you team know you? At the end of
the day, if you're forced to a corner, you have to seriously evaluate what really matters.

There are a hosts of minor characters in this movie, like parents, colleagues and friends, but it is really the characterization of Drew Barrymore as Lindsey, and Jimmy Fallon as Ben, which endears the show to the audience. Their chemistry is magical, they look really
wonderful together and very believable as an on-screen couple. It seems that producer-actress Barrymore is becoming very comfortable in the romance comedy genre, and the pairing with Saturday Night Live veteran Fallon may prove to be as successful as her pairing with Adam Sandler.

While it is a romantic comedy directed by the Farrelly Brothers (Shallow Hal, There's Something about Mary), there's a departure from the signature slapstick toilet humour that we've grown accustomed with in a Farrelly Bros movie.

All said, the storyline's pretty familiar territory to some, given it's an adaptation and remake of a book and movie respectively. Fact is, you can actually substitute baseball, or soccer, with any other spectator team sports, and the spirit of the movie will still be captured. However, the delivery by the stars make it refreshing, and it works out as an enjoyable date movie. Local Red Sox fans will of course, take a natural liking to this film.

Movie Rating:

(An enjoyable, though cliched, date movie that explores love, sacrifice and compromise in
parallel with the backdrop of a baseball season)

Review by Stefan Shih

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