Run Fatboy Run
Maybe Simon Pegg should use an exercycle with a seat?

Theatrical Release Date: 03/28/2008
Director: David Schwimmer
Cast: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria

Look, I realize David Schwimmer directed this film. Hey, don’t click away! As hard as it may be, put that out of your mind and focus on the fact that this film stars Simon Pegg and that the doofus from “Friends” will never show up on-screen.

With that out of the way, let’s get to talking about “Run Fatboy Run”. (No, that’s not just what people tell me as I slink away into the night.) In the film, Simon Pegg plays the underdog ex-fiance of Thandie Newton. Hank Azaria is sweeping her off her feet and it’s up to Pegg to show that he can grow up and finish something that he’s started. He decides to run the same marathon Azaria has entered and from there, the battle is on.

One thing to note is that you shouldn’t expect the same attention to detail that you might find in Pegg’s other films, like “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz“. Yes, he co-wrote “Run Fatboy Run” but this time with Michael Ian Black and as aforementioned and warned earlier, it’s directed by Schwimmer. This means no Edgar Wright behind the camera and sadly there is also no hint of Nick Frost, the co-star in “Shaun” and “Fuzz”.

What we are left with is a pleasant romantic comedy, where the strength of the actors carries the film to its enjoyable conclusion. However, probably due to Black’s part of the writing, there is some gross-out humor that will have you cringing a bit. Perhaps you’ve seen the trailer where Pegg’s character develops the mother of all blisters and his friend is poking at it … and we all can see where this is headed.

That’s perhaps the worst part of the film, that the jokes are all telegraphed like a boxer on the take. In fact, there really isn’t anything you won’t see coming, whether it’s a joke or the plot. However, there are plenty of laughs to be had and I again credit the actors for having great comedic timing. Of course, Pegg is no stranger to making rather droll characters both humorous and heartwarming. Add in Hank Azaria, who’s fantastic at playing situations straight yet having a twisted edge, and the laughs are numerous and near-between.

The love interest in the film is Thandie Newton. She’s had a devil of a time picking a decent film of late and it’s nice to see that she’s found one here. Her delicate charm and beauty make it easy to believe why Pegg and Azaria both want her so badly. She’s the straight-woman of the film, helping to ground the zany antics of Pegg and Azaria.

Speaking of said antics, fans of the actors will be pleased by a number of scenes. Sure, there’s the ubiquitous locker room scene highlighting the different level of fitness between Pegg and Azaria. However, there’s also a fantastically funny fight scene between Pegg and his best friend in the film, (Dylan Moran),that is very believable in the context of the characters … who obviously have no fighting ability.

The scene stealer of the film has to be Harish Patel. His daughter (the very beautiful India de Beaufort) is Pegg’s landlord and he becomes the assistant marathon coach. Armed with a spatula to “encourage” Pegg to greatness, he’s both a little bit crazy and just as important to the film’s heart as Thandie Newton – taking Pegg on almost like a father would a son.

Therein lies the charm of the film. Even with Pegg and Azaria using their comic talents to great use, I would say that the sweet and heartfelt nature of the film is the more prominent feature. It’s about Pegg’s character taking charge of his life and working towards creating a good future rather than remaining stuck in his self-created malaise.

I’m giving “Run Fatboy Run” a 3 out of 5. Aside from a couple of gross-out moments, this is a film that appeals to pretty much every demographic; as both young and old will find something to like. It doesn’t reinvent the genre or make any great statements but it’s a nice way to spend an hour and a half on a weekend afternoon.