by Tony Medley
The Farrelly Brothers have been
responsible for some dumb, crude movies aimed at the lowest intellect
possible, like “Dumb and Dumber” (1994) and “There’s Something About Mary”
(1998) and “Shallow Hal” (2001). Now they are trying a straight romantic
comedy based on the Boston Red Sox remarkable 2004 season.
Ben (Jimmy Fallon) is a died in
the wool Red Sox fan with season tickets at Fenway Park behind the Sox
dugout for 23 years. He sits with a bunch of other died in the wool fans,
imbeciles you will only find in Hollywood movies. I was a died in the wool
UCLA basketball fan and a 50-yard-line Los Angeles Rams season ticket
holder. I saw every game both played, either in person or on television
for away games. But the people with whom I sat were knowledgeable. They
could discuss the game with intelligence. Ben’s seatmates are unlikable
fools, more like the idiots you see on beer commercials. The writers don’t
make things any better by continuing to perpetuate the myth that a
financially troubled Harry Frazee, owner of the Red Sox in the winter of
1919-20, sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees to finance the Broadway
play “No, No, Nanette.” There is nothing to support the allegation that
Frazee was in financial trouble that winter, and several Boston newspapers
supported dumping Ruth because he had become a pariah in the Red Sox
clubhouse as well as a greedy lout demanding more and more money. In fact,
when informed of the trade that winter (on a Los Angeles golf course) his
first response was, “Tell Col. Ruppert (Yankee owner) I want more money.”
Further, “No, No Nanette” didn’t appear on Broadway for another four
years. It’s unlikely that Frazee used any of the $125,000 (plus a $200,000
loan) he received for Ruth for the play.
Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore)
is a 30-year-old rising corporate executive whose friends are all married.
Ben and Lindsey meet and start an affair. Ben’s fanaticism for the Red Sox
comes in between them. This is a formulaic story: boy meets girl, boy wins
girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. The baseball is
simply a McGuffin, a gimmick to throw a wrench into a love affair.
This is yet another of the
legion of films Hollywood is making that makes light of marriage and
sexual promiscuity. Lindsey and Ben are sleeping together without even the
thought of marriage or commitment when she thinks she’s pregnant. She’s
thrilled. She’s not worried that she’s not married. She’s just thrilled
she might be pregnant. Score one more for Hollywood secularism. How many
teenage girls will see this movie and be influenced that it’s no big deal
to sleep around and get pregnant? Movie stars do it. They even do it in
the movies. Why not me?
I found the first hour of this
film excruciating. The Farrellys insert scenes that are simply
reprehensible. In one, Lindsey gets hit flat on the forehead by a line
drive foul ball. Neither Ben nor any of his dopey friends pay any
attention to the fact that she’s knocked cold. They just go after the ball
and are happy when one of them gets it. People have been killed by getting
hit on the head by foul balls. This scene is just ludicrously unrealistic.
Nobody is stupid enough to ignore someone who could have been seriously
injured by a foul ball. It’s not funny.
In another, Lindsey and all her
friends are working out at a gym hitting a punching bag, more women
boxers. One gets mad at her friend and slugs her in the face without
warning. She falls backwards and in a normal situation could easily hit
her head on the ground causing serious injury even if the punch didn’t
break her nose or jaw. Again, not funny, just irresponsible, leaving the
idea in impressionable heads that you can sock someone in the face with no
serious consequences. It’s too bad there are so many greedy filmmakers in
Hollywood who make movies without a sense of responsibility to their
audience and society.
The baseball scenes filmed at
Fenway are very good. Filmed in 10 days, half of which were game days, in
one scene they had to walk out onto the field and ask 37,000 fans to
remain in their seats while the production filmed a scene that had
Barrymore running across the field. Bobby Farrelly appealed to the fans’
goodwill by making a joke at the expense of the hated Yankees.
Lots of people will
like this but I found it only moderately entertaining.
April 4, 2005