Thursday, September 22, 2005
Fever Pitch (they changed the title to Perfect Catch around here) is one of those movies that seems to have the makings of a typical romantic comedy that blends into the background. It could have worked that way if not for the two leads that made the whole viewing experience a blast. Simply put it's a love story between a work-driven, goal oriented, gorgeous woman (the "Ayala Avenue" type in local parlance) and an ordinary looking math teacher by day, baseball geek by night kind of guy (a geek is a geek is a geek). They met one day when Ben (Jimmy Fallon) took a group of his grade A students on a tour of a corporate office where Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore) works. Ben is the typical geek who's not really as aggressive as most guys (like the character, Albert from another great film) and only went to impress the girl and ask her for a date upon the "prodding" of his students.
But before they could actually go out on a date Lindsey fell violently sick. Ben good naturedly stuck around cleaning up the mess and looking after her till she got well. Aside from being naturally impressed with his actions she fell all the more in love with him as she got to know him better as they began spending time with each other. Her girlfriends were also impressed with her catch but one of them thinks Ben's being single for so long is too good to be true. She told her to try and snoop around if and when opportunity presents itself and look for some skeletons lingering in his closet (or in her ex's case, a bag of hair and nail clippings). The next day as they were enjoying each other's company in the park, Ben confessed that indeed he had some "skeletons" that she had to know: he's a total Boston Red Sox fan. In fact he's big a fan of the Sox, he's got a permanent box seat in every game! Relieved with this revelation she didn't think it to be that big a deal until their watching the Red Sox games began to interfere with her work (and her goal for that big promotion). Still she tried to work things by trying to come up with some compromises (to think that intially she didn't have a clue what goes on in those games). But in this case it was Ben who proved to be the one who wasn't willing to budge. It was all downhill from there and they tried their best to fight for the other, but is your guess their best was good enough?
I guess that's what made it work for me. Call it fairy tale of sorts, a wishful thinking on my part but a plethora of successful partnerships out there testify to this as not being as far fetched as we're wont to think. Because that's what true love is all about, making choices and sacrifices on our part to accomodate the other. In this case, Ben being the "less successful" of the two came to be who he is precisely because he had no family to begin with and as a kid he found that baseball is a good surrogate parent in ways of making him happy, that he's able to share in its lows and eventual highs, that it could bring him more than his fair share of extended family, that that's where his heart is. And for everyone close to him who's ever shared his enthusiasm (or at least has the willingness to share his happiness) for the the sport he welcomes them and shares with them his treasures. It's a good thing he found Lindsey, a smart woman who also knows what she wants, came from a a good family, driven to success but accomodates his man's enthusiasm for his hobby because that's where he's happiness lies. Not only that he's also a great teacher who never looks down on the kids (in fact in one scene, his teaching technique even encourages the students to want to learn math! Wow!). She's got no problem with his other life, she doesn't put down nor look down on his friends knowing how much support they've given him all throughout this time. She only asks that also share his life with her. To not be as selfish as to hold on to it with a "death grip" stance in fear that that's the only thing going for him. She only wants him to realize for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do them part she'll fill up those parts missing in his heart in ways that baseball games cannot. No matter how ideal it may sound, that my friend is what relationships in real life should be about.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.