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Toned-down Farrelly brothers hit one out of the park with 'Fever Pitch'

Fever Pitch -- PG-13

Once the masters of raunchy and hilarious comedy in the '90s, directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly have begun to tone down the shock factor a bit. They have begun to show audiences their softer sides. Now their stories convey deep messages like loving somebody for who they are or accepting others' differences. Their most recent film, "Fever Pitch," is a story of compromising, and sacrificing, part of our lives for a loved one.

One's a devout Red Sox fan and the other is a workaholic. In "Fever Pitch" it is Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore who get mixed up in that picture-perfect, family friendly romance as Ben Wrightman and Lindsey Meeks. Seemingly shy Ben approaches the intimidating and career-driven Lindsey to ask her out on a date, and predictably he is shot down. Lindsey, afraid of dating someone whose income is that of a high school teacher's -- which his is -- rethinks her response after her friends' comical influence. Lindsey thinks she's found the perfect guy, for he's witty, charming and not obsessed with himself, but she realizes soon the secret that's kept Ben single for so long. Ben is an obsessed Red Sox fan.

What sets the Farrelly brothers' comedy apart from other comedic directors is their power to pull a visual punch-line off to the point where it is blatantly obvious, but can still remain somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Now, I admit I am not a fan of the new, cleaned-up direction the Farrelly brothers have taken with their films. I do, however, admire their ability to keep romantic comedies such as "Fever Pitch" from being victimized by clichés; and above all, from being cheesy. "Fever Pitch" may include the predictability of many romantic comedies, but the characters lead surprisingly ordinary and hectic lives, and overcoming the problems that unfold as the film goes on gives them heart.

Fallon plays the all-around good guy who makes friends easily despite his tedious humor. He woos the convincingly stressed-out-and-willing-to-take-a-chance Barrymore, and together the two actors have a great onscreen presence as they work out their relationship through compromises.

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The other characters, which in Farrelly brothers' films are just as important as the leads, are funny and outspoken. There is Ben's Red Sox family who yell in unison using the Boston accent, and then there is Lindsay's group of friends who sway her judgments all while pointing out each other's flaws.

"Fever Pitch" is a great movie. It may not teach you anything new about getting someone to like you, but at least you can learn from its characters' mistakes.

Max Arnzen is a senior at John Marshall High School and a post-secondary education option student at Rochester Community &; Technical College. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to teenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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