Growing up is hard to do but the Farrelly brothers and star Jimmy Fallon show distinct signs of maturity in romantic comedy The Perfect Catch. Instead of remaking footie flick Fever Pitch (1997), the brothers take inspiration from the original Nick Hornby novel and use baseball as a backdrop for the story of a man torn between his passion for the game and the love of a no-nonsense girl (Drew Barrymore). It's not pitch perfect but the leads make a winning team.
In the first half hour the Farrellys struggle to pick up the pace as Ben tries desperately to score with Lindsey. But just when you're ready to throw in the towel, they end up going one-on-one and Ben reveals his dirty little secret: he is pathologically obsessed with the Boston Red Sox. At first Lindsey plays along, but eventually grows resentful of all the compromises she's forced to make.
"DELIVERED WITH SUBTLETY"
It's a tenderly told love story that retains the cheeky spirit of Hornby's book without the gross-out excesses we've come to expect from the Farrellys. Admittedly there is one gag involving a puddle of puke and a hungry dog, but it's delivered with subtlety and, for the most part, there is an admirable commitment to restraint. Likewise, Fallon avoids the crackheaded clowning around of Taxi and builds an honest rapport with Barrymore as an earthy (rather than hardnosed) career girl. After taking a while to find their feet, the Farrelly's don't quite knock it out of the park, but The Perfect Catch does hit home in the end.