Run Fat Boy Run

Robin Clifford 
Run Fat Boy Run
Laura Clifford 
Dennis (Simon Pegg) is a little overweight and, five years later, mortally regrets his decision to leave his very pregnant bride, Libby (Thandie Newton), standing alone at the altar. When he learns that his pretty ex is engaged to another man, marathon runner Whit (Hank Azaria), Dennis vows to enter the next big race and maybe, just maybe, win back Libby’s heart in Run Fatboy Run.”

This is a typically clichéd boy-gets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl-back romantic comedy that benefits from the extreme likableness of Simon Pegg and the arrogant despicableness of Hank Azaria’s Whit. Dennis, since his abrupt departure all those years ago, has never been able to finish anything he starts. But, with Libby planning to wed Whit and give her (and Dennis’s) son, Jake (Matthew Fenton), a new daddy, the flabby slacker vows to enter an upcoming marathon, just three weeks away, and prove that he can complete something he starts. He is convinced that he can run the grueling race and win Libby’s love again.

David Schwimmer directs this predictable but nice comedy that centers on loser Dennis and his resolve to get back the girl. It is a far-fetched premise that has him, though totally out of shape, preparing for a 26-mile race in only three weeks. You can forgive the unbelievable story, by Pegg and Michael Ian Black, for its amusing characters. I have liked Simon since Shaun of the Dead” and the bizarre and very funny Hot Fuzz” and he wraps his arms around his character here, playing well off of Hank Azaria’s buff, assured Whit. Thandie Newton is merely an object of affection for the two men but there are two very amusing supporting turns by Dylan Moran, as Dennis’s wise cousin and best friend Gordon, and Harish Patel as his discipline-oriented assistant coach, Mr. Ghoshdashtidar.

Predictable and clichéd as “Run Fatboy Run” is, it is an entertaining romedy that, unfortunately, doesn’t have much staying power after credits roll. I give it a C+

 It looks like British writers Simon Pegg ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") and Michael Ian Black have been studying the romantic comedies of Adam Sandler.  "Run Fat Boy Run" follows the painfully obvious Hollywood cliche of a loser trying to woo back the girl he let get away who is on the verge of marrying the seemingly better guy who turns out to be a jerk.  On the plus side, feature debuting director David Schwimmer has made a technically sound film and knows how to set up a sight gag.  Many of these are provided by the quirky cast, who also lend an above average feel to what is, at heart, a very average effort otherwise. Star Simon Pegg brings on what's made him likable in his previous incarnations and Schwimmer's old "Friends" costar Hank Azaria makes sleazy seem easy (besides looking way buff!).  Dylan Moran is aces as Pegg's iffy sidekick as is Harish Patel ("My Son the Fanatic") as disapproving landlord turned race coach Mr. Ghoshdashtidar. Watch for costume designer Annie Hardinge's deft hand with 1980's rock tees.


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