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Fever Pitch (1997)

Fever Pitch. Feature film. (1997, 103 mins) IMDB

...A different sort of romantic comedy...


hat is more interesting, the obsession a man has for an English football team or the romance between him and a fellow teacher?

Colin Firth plays an English teacher in a high school somewhere in England. He's a life-long supporter of a football team that seems to disappoint its fans year after year. He coaches the school football team. He's rough around the edges, a bit of a carefree bachelor, but not a cad and his students love him.

At the start of a new school year, Ms. Hughes joins the school as a history teacher. Her classroom is right next to his. She's a by-the-books type of person. Strict. Severe. Limited interests.

When they meet, it's love at first sight, but neither wants to admit it.

There's foreplay. There's backstory. There's dates and moments in bed, and of course there's his obsession with the football team. He goes to the games, season tickets, and has for years. He lives and dies with the successes and failures of this team. He's a typical male.

She doesn't know the team, the sport or why he's so obsessed. She's also peeved he's more interested in the team than in her. Does this sound familiar?

There is a story arc for our hero. He grows up. He learns to let go of this team, sort of, and pays more attention to other things in life like his new love and their child on the way.

The movie felt strained. I have no doubt there are men who are obsessed about a sports team as he is, but that she keeps trying seems much. You would think at some point she would give up because he rarely gives her much thought. It's for that reason this film isn't so much a romantic comedy, but a study in modern day male obsession. With no wars to fight, no animals to stalk, modern day men have to follow football teams while women wait in the wings anxious for the game to end.

The film has few laughs and doesn't try to get them. In that way, it's not a romantic comedy. It's focused on how professional sports teams separate a couple in love.

Posted 2009/01/29 at 03h32ET in Movie Commentary.


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