STUDIO: New Line
RUNNING TIME: 100 Minutes
Digital Copy Download
Commentary with Simon Pegg (and his Mom!), Thandie Newton and David Schwimmer
“It’s a formulaic romantic comedy – WITH SIMON PEGG!”
Cast: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel
Director: David Schwimmer
Dennis (Pegg) leaves his girlfriend, Libby (Newton), at the altar – while she‘s pregnant. Five years later, Libby hooks up with a new guy, Whit (Azaria) – a good-looking, wealthy, marathon runner. With the help of his best friend Gordon (Moran) and his landlord Mr. Goshdashtidar (Patel), Dennis decides to train for and compete in the London Marathon in an attempt to win Libby back.
Snap from the little known prequel, There’s Something About Lizzie
Run Fatboy Run is, in essence, every single romantic comedy you‘ve ever seen. Guy and girl split up because the guy is an idiot? Check. Guy just can’t get over it and turns into a bit of a loser? Check. Girl meets seemingly perfect new guy which prompts guy to FINALLY try and win her back by picking one random quality that the new guys has and saying “I can do that too“? Check. New guy turns out to be a prick and reveals it by accident to the girl who ends up leaving him? Check. Guy learns important lesson in quest to win girl back and betters himself in the process? Check. Guy gets back together with girl? Well, not right away but the way she looks at him as we fade to black says they will (in other words – check).
And there you go. There’s your story. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not just a framework on which to hang some real drama and emotion (The Breakup) or a subplot to round out a meaty story (Shaun of the Dead) – that’s all there is. The “I can do that too” plot is centered around Whit’s being a charity marathon runner and all of the humor, lessons and thematic elements come from Dennis’ decision and training to run alongside Whit in the London Marathon. Oh but the running isn’t just literal, it’s also figurative! He’s been running away from is emotions! He needs to run back to his true love! Actually, practically every literal element in the story is a metaphor for its figurative counterpart. It’s the laziest attempt at subtext I can remember off hand. So, naturally, it’s rather transparent and predictable* and, a few pretty funny jokes aside, the only saving grace comes from the cast of characters.
Marketing image from the Iron Maiden live-action tie-in DVD: Eddie Gets Married
Well, some of them anyway, as Thandie Newton really has nothing to do except stand there and be beautiful. Hank Azaria turns in a decent performance as Whit and brings a little bit of nuance to the character – you’re not entirely sure if he’s an asshole right up front and it wouldn’t be surprising if he turned out to be a decent guy. And once the big reveal happens you don‘t really see him anymore so he doesn‘t have to torpedo everything that came before it with ham. Harish Patel is fun as Pegg’s landlord and assistant coach (with a smokin’ hot daughter played by India de Beaufort) and Dylan Moran is pretty great as the perverted, classless, almost always half-naked Gordon.
That just leaves Dennis. And yeah, as always, Pegg is great. This was the first time I’d seen him outside of the Wright/Frost/Pegg threesome (a few Youtubed segments of Big Train don‘t really count) and even though David Schwimmer is no Edgar Wright, Pegg didn’t bring anything less to the table (even though he didn’t have nearly as much to do). A lot of people could have phoned a slow-pitch role like this in but he brought the goods. Again, all of the main players did. And they helped turn what would have been a completely forgettable movie into something pretty decent. It’s a little weird to see Simon Pegg in something that isn’t just phenomenal, but even so, I’d definitely recommend it as a rental, if nothing else.
The lost love scene in Mirrors
Carrying on the theme of “boring and forgettable,” we have the cover art. Pegg and Thandie? Meet Photoshop. Photoshop? Pegg and Thandie. No real sense of layout or flow. Though for some reason I do like all the text treatment.
Simon Pegg meets Hollowman.
At the top of the Features list are a few deleted scenes with optional commentary. Most were just random bits or extensions of jokes and wouldn’t have hurt or helped the film, but one, featuring Mya (the landlord’s daughter) was great and, in my opinion, should have been left in. As far as the commentary, all it is is Schwimmer saying “This is a scene where so and so does this. We cut it out for time.” And he does it on EVERY SCENE. Pointless.
Moving on, there’s a blooper reel that’s set to some music – it’s kinda cute but ultimately forgettable. There’s a junket goof where Newton replaces Pegg’s bottle of water with a bottle of vodka – again, cute but it lasts too long. And finally there’s a commentary with Schwimmer, Pegg, Newton and Pegg’s Mom (though she’s in the background and not on a mic – more of a spectator). It’s your standard behind-the-scenes commentary that tells little anecdotes about the set and the production. It’s interesting, if only once. Schwimmer’s voice ends up on my nerves, but that’s nothing new. Oh and there’s also a little card inside the case that gives you a link and a special id number so you can download a digital copy of the film. I’m sure it’s riddled with all sorts of fucked up DRM, but at least they’re trying.
* – No surprise seeing as it was written by Michael Ian Black. One of the blandest guys out there.
OVERALL 7.0 out of 10