Tuesday, February 28, 2006

PERFECT CATCH - perfect date movie

The first time I saw FEVER PITCH, marketed in the UK as PERFECT CATCH, I hated it. I thought it was a glossy, vapid, Hollywood chick-flick, lacking intelligence and wit. However, I was WRONG. It wasn't my fault: I had been a complete sucker. The marketing posters had sold me a remake of the British film of the same name, based on the novel by Nick Hornby. So, I had gone into the cinema expecting a movie about a middle-aged teacher struggling to come to terms with life as an adult: balancing his complicated relationship with his father and his first serious relationship with his fanatical devotional to Arsenal football club. Both the novel and the original film were trememdous: they were genuinely funny, and genuinely insightful about modern life and relationships. The movie even looked grey and gritty, and in case we were ever in any doubt, we even had the Hillsborough disaster to ground us. By contrast, the Hollywood remake recasts the story in America and instead of a Gooners fan, we have Jimmy Fallon as a Boston Redsocks fan, falling in love with career woman played by Drew Barrymore.

The key to enjoying the remake is to completely empty your brain of any fragment of the source material:
to take it as a stand-alone, original movie. Even better, ignore the marketing campaign that tells you it is a romantic COMEDY. Yes, yes, Drew Barrymore is a decent comedic actress and Jimmy Fallon (TAXI aside) is a decent stand-up comedian, but that is not what this film is about. If you look for belly-laughs you'll be disappointed. But if you adjust your expectations as instructed, what you'll get is a really sweet date movie, perfectly cast, that IS schmaltzy and glossy, but that gives you a nice warm feeling inside. Aaah! I love Asian ultra-violence as much as the next girl but, every now and then, it's lovely to inhabit a world where chicks don't mind when their boyfriends watch Match of the Day, and guys don't care when their girlfriends work late, and your team wins the The Ashes, I mean World Series.

PERFECT CATCH/FEVER PITCH is now available on DVD.

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