- Start with one woman. She is either:
- About to be married to the perfect (but boring) guy
- Strong and independent and needs no man
- Strong and independent but cannot find the right man
- Add one charming but imperfect guy. Complicate him with:
- Irreconcilable personality quirk
- Dedication to (?:job|sport|free spirit)
- Throw in forty minutes of heartfelt joy interrupted by:
- One small (to call it foreshadowing would be generous) but recoverable conflict
- Add ten minutes of perfect bliss
- Have a falling-out, initiated by either side, consisting of:
- One party telling the other the truth, but it being too offensive
- One party making an excuse and trying to be “rational”
- One party realizing they were behaving irrationally, and that they need to return to perfect guy
- One party realizing that they’ve found somebody else, and that they’re everything this person isn’t
- Time elapses with the chasm between them. Depending on the stylistic direction of the screenwriter, this is anywhere from five minutes to half a year.
- In one big uncomfortable moment, guy returns to find girl with another guy, and after fifteen minutes of awkward argument, they go separate ways.
- Girl shows up some amount of time later and falls lovingly into man’s arms, lives happily ever after.
- Sprinkle random bits of humor in the above, according to the particular frame of the story.
For a little contemporary action, feel free to swap guys and girls in the above. Having done so, I’ve now provided you the script to every romantic comedy in the last twenty years. I suspect it is more timeless than that, but I only have direct evidence for the last decade.
What I’m getting at is that there was nothing wrong with Fever Pitch. It is exactly what one would expect — the exact same romantic comedy you see every time, but with the particular flavor of problems being that the woman is focused on her job, and the man is focused on the Red Sox. The other plots going on in the movie are integrated in poor fashion, and the movie feels like the main story and a bunch of little side stories with no cohesion and poor character development. In that regard, the movie can probably swing a 5/10.
This reminds me, at one point I need to explain my movie rating system, in that it is logarithmic, like pH, dB, or the Richter scale. In that, a 5/10 is nowhere near a 6/10, even though they are just one digit apart. Maybe I will make a project this week of enumerating the whole scale and criteria. This would probably keep me somewhat more honest as well.
However, I have reached the point where I must declare war on every unoriginal romantic comedy. Based on the idea of diminishing marginal returns that I have factored out through induction, I think each movie I see that can fit in the aforementioned framework should receive an automatic 0/10.