I sit on my couch ready to throw up the little food that sits within my wretched stomach, preparing to write my first movie review in over a week and a half. A trip to Mexico and a subsequent virus has left me devoid of brain power, as evidenced by my many days of sitting in front of the television in a catatonic state, not even able to apply my beautiful fingers to the keyboard to write about movies. Run Fatboy Run is the first movie of many that I must review soon, as I am far behind and will be farther if I don't force myself to do something. And so here it is...
Run Fatboy Run stars Simon Pegg as an alleged fat man (most certainly the skinniest fat man to grace Hollywood that I can remember) who vows to run a marathon after his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend reveals that he is doing the same. Pegg, best known in the U.S. for Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, plays his usual self, the sarcastic and slightly awkward Brit. The character works well for him, but one has to wonder how quickly will audiences tire of him when not matched against Nick Frost. That may be a bit unfair, but it seems like Pegg - even in films such as Mission: Impossible III - hasn't exactly branched out. Then again, he's a comic actor; maybe he doesn't, as long as the movie is right.
But is the movie right? Run Fatboy Run is OK, neither as good as it could have been nor a waste. The movie has a feel-good energy to it, which takes it far; at the same time, it seems a bit too grounded at times. With a title like what it has, I was expecting something more absurd and outlandish; not slapstick by any means, but something a little goofier than what David Schwimmer has delivered. I guess I shouldn't fault the film for something like this, but it isn't as funny as I was hoping for.
Still, Run Fatboy Run has its funny scenes, and I liked the race sequence. All in all, Run Fatboy Run is a decent picture with an okay story and some good jokes. It isn't the next Shaun of the Dead by any means, but, then again, it was never meant to be. And now that it took me two hours to write this short, piddling review, I am going to return to reclining on the couch...
Review by Robert Bell (C+)
It's difficult to understand why it is that someone would stand their significant other up at the altar, or even if it actually happens outside of Hollywood fare. It seems more logical that one would go through with the marriage for appearances, then annul it the next day, or that they would get out of it before the refund time on deposits expire. There is also an unexplained innocence in the formula rom-com, which seems to believe that an audience would care or identify with the kind of moron that would pull a stunt like that.
Run, FatBoy, Run is essentially a standard Farrelly Brothers style romantic comedy, with less crudity, and more effort placed on characters. There's nothing particularly original or noteworthy as every moment of the film adheres to a pre-existing formula. It's harmless, and may stir some laughter in some audience members, but will be forgotten by most ten minutes after leaving the theatre.
Dennis (Simon Pegg) is a nervous wreck moments before his marriage to a very pregnant Libby (Thandie Newton). When it comes time to head to the altar, he runs, literally, and is chased by the wedding guests, Libby included.
Five years later, Dennis is working as a security guard for a ladies department store, living in a basement apartment, sporting a new prosthetic belly, and endlessly regretting his past mistake. Still in love with Libby, Dennis makes efforts to rekindle the relationship every time he stops by to pick up their son, Jake (Matthew Festoon). This struggle is exacerbated by the arrival of Whit (Hank Azaria), an American Financial exec who has started dating Libby.
Feeling the competition element, Dennis vows to run a 26-mile race that Whit plans to run, thinking this will win the heart of Libby. Being somewhat out of shape, and not particularly ambitious, Dennis' friends (Dylan Moran, Harish Patel) help whip him into shape (for reasons of their own).
There is very little to distinguish this film from any other about underdogs trying to win their "gal". Our protagonist is a hopeless failure, but likable nonetheless, his intentions are honorable, and he aims to earn his prize against all odds. Fatboy is complete with training montages, conveniently timed character revelations, and an overdone final race played without parody. It's all done well enough, but bridges on corny a little too often.
David Schwimmer has actually shows some promise behind the camera. While he occasionally rushes sequences giving them an amateurish feel, he avoids visual embellishment, making the film commercially viable, and showing that he likely has a second career ahead of him helming studio pics.
The performances throughout the film are uniformly decent, yet unspectacular. Simon Pegg plays the underdog well, unafraid to embarrass himself, and humanizing a potentially annoying character. Thandie Newton is charming as always, if underused, and not particularly well developed on the page. Hank Azaria plays smug and controlling well, not surprisingly.
Run, Fatboy, Run should please those looking for a digestible, predictable, light comedy. In fact, it's possibly the perfect airplane movie. It simply offers nothing new or even necessary to the genre, or more discerning viewers.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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