Run, Fatboy, Run
Film review by: Witney Seibold
“Run, Fatboy, Run” is a typical sitcom movie full of contrived characters and hackneyed moments, and even that ancient film trope: the training montage. The jokes are passably funny, situations are obviously quotidian, and the ending is comfortingly predictable. That the film was directed by a famous American sitcom actor (David Schwimmer from “Friends”) should have been an indicator of this. It’s almost baffling that a film this plain could have been written by edgy comedians Simon Pegg (who also stars) and “Stella” and “The State” alumnus Michael Ian Black.
In fact, the one thing saving “Run, Fatboy, Run” are the comic power of the film’s cast. Pegg plays the titular fatboy Dennis (who is not fat, but is certainly not in good shape), and is a funny enough performer and talented enough comedian that he can wring real laughs from it. Picture Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler in a role like this, and “Run, Fatboy, Run” would have been an atrocity.
The story: Five years ago, Dennis left his pregnant fiancé Libby (Thandie Newton) at the alter. These days he’s only trying to be a good father to his new son (Matthew Fenton, who is a dead ringer for Max Pirkis from “Master and Commander”), and deflect the badgering demands from his landlords (rotund Harish Patel, and curvy India de Beaufort). When Dennis learns that Libby has started seeing a new fellow named Whit (Hank Azaria, now playing “the other man” for at least the third time), a fellow who is tall, svelte, rich and American, Dennis decides to win back Libby’s respect (and perhaps her heart), by entering in the same marathon Whit is running. Training and comedy ensues. Dennis’ trainer is played by Dylan Moran as the usual misanthropic near-criminal he’s so good at playing.
I’m glad Brits took over this material, because American actors (I imagine) would have made it broad and horrible. Many of the verbal jokes in this film are casual and hilarious throw-offs, and while some of the slapstick is still a bit too goofy and obvious for its own good (there’s a scene in which Moran shoves a screw into a tennis-ball-sized blister on the bottom of Pegg’s foot, leading to a moment the Farrelly brothers would have been proud of), at least the actors seem to know how to handle low comedy.
I laughed plenty during the film, was satisfied with the ending. It may have been plain and prdicable, but “Run, Fatboy, Run” was certainly serviceable.