The Perfect Catch

Ben (Jimmy Fallon), is a teacher who is good at his job and great to his friends. One day, he meets Lindsey (Drew Barrymore), a fast working corporate executive who has little time for romance. However, they both start dating and sparks fly. Unfortunately for Lindsey, Ben has another passion - he is a lifelong follower of the Red Sox baseball team, and goes to every single game and collects anything to do with this team. Eventually Ben has to make a choice between having the girl or letting go of his obsession with the sports team. The story takes place over the baseball season, as we see the ups and down of the team and also of their relationship.

Bobby & Peter Farrelly are the directors of this, and do a very fine job. They are well known for their ‘gross out’ comedies such as There’s Something About Mary,
Me Myself & Irene, and Shallow Hal. The Farrelly brothers have changed tack for this film by being very low key and allowing the humour come out of the situations, instead of relying on the sight gags they are well known for. Their films have always had an undercurrent of social commentary to them, and this film explores how obsession can grip someone to the detriment of everything else in their life. This film is based on a novel by Nick Hornby, who also penned About A Boy & High Fidelity, both made into successful films.

Jimmy Fallon as Ben does a very good job of portraying the obsessed fan and his dilemma in trying to wean himself off the love for baseball. At times you feel sympathetic for his character, and others you just wish he’d grow up! Fallon hasn’t done much film work - his last film was the awful Taxi, so it’s good to see that he can actually act in this one. Drew Barrymore is good as always in a very mature role. Her character is definitely not a push over, and does her best to go along with Ben’s fan worship. However, when her character is pushed to the limit, it’s up to Ben which is more important to him. Barrymore and Fallon make quite a charming pair, and are very believable in their roles. The rest of the cast do a fine job in their small parts, and help drive the story along at a brisk pace.

This is a very easy going film, which doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, and has a good message to say amongst the carry on. The Farrelly brothers inject a different sort of humour to proceedings and it makes a refreshing change to their usual work. It does stick fairly closely to the romantic comedy formula, however the engaging performances of the leads keep things reasonably unpredictable. A quite adequate crowd pleaser.

Rating out of 10: 6 and a half

The Dukes of Hazzard

‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ follows the antics of cousins Bo (Sean William Scott) & Luke Duke (Johnny Knoxville), who deal in illegal alcohol delivery, while at the same time trying to avoid the clutches of corrupt Sheriff Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). One day they learn that Boss Hogg plans to destroy their familial home owned by Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), and turn it into a coalmine. The boys do what they can to prevent this and are helped by another cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson). What follows are endless car chases, non stop crashes and low digit humour.

This film is based on the popular tv series which ran for 6 years from 1979 - 85. The show was hardly high art, but what it did have was an easy going charm amongst the car chases, and was well liked by mostly young males who wanted to ride the ‘General Lee’, the car ridden by the Duke boys. Merchandise, a spin off show, a few reunion films and now this movie have spawned from the tv version. It developed a cult audience who fondly remember indulging in a slice of countryside kitsch!

However the mistake the filmmakers have made with this version, is that they have made it into a comedy, which the tv version wasn’t. In the earlier incarnation, the actors played their roles ’straight down the line’, which allowed the comedy to come naturally to proceedings, instead of being forced as it is in this film. Also, there are too many scenes of car chases which after awhile become tedious, with a plot which is as thin as a supermodel. To be fair, the tv show was virtually plotless as well, with each episode basically being saving Uncle Jesse’s farm, which this film uses as well.

Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott seem to be having fun in their parts, although sadly the fun doesn’t translate for the audience. Both of them are too over the top in their roles, and aren’t as deadpan as they should be, which added to the camp value of the tv show. Burt Reynolds enjoys himself playing a nasty, although Burt is looking a bit scary these days as a result of too much plastic surgery. Willie Nelson is perfect as Uncle Jesse, and is the best one in the cast. He’s the only one you can believe would be doing what his character does, and gets to sing the Hazzard theme song - ‘The Good Ole’ Boys’ to good effect. Pop starlet Jessica Simpson as Daisy doesn’t do much apart from wiggle and giggle as only she knows how. Wonder Woman herself - Lynda Carter - appears also as yet another relative, but is sadly underused. The rest of the cast don’t do much but get caught up in the car crashes and stare at Burt Reynolds bad surgery!

It’s telling of a movie made from a tv show that the original cast don’t even appear in it - if this film was too bad for the cast of ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ to be in, it must be bad! Hollywood has surely scrapped the bottom of the barrel with adapting tv shows, what’s next? - a movie version of Good Morning Australia with Richard Gere as Bert Newton? This film is quite appalling and only gets some marks for having Willie Nelson and Lynda Carter in it. It’s deathly dull and lifeless and drives one to tears of boredom. As amazing as it sounds, this film was such a hit that a sequel set in London is in the works. The Royal Family are lining up for roles as we speak…..!!

Rating out of 10: 2