RUN, FAT BOY, RUN
Dennis (Simon Pegg) has always been in love with Libby (Thandie Newton). He came close to marrying her five years ago, when after a panic attack, he jilted his pregnant bride-to-be at the altar. But even though they see a lot of each other because of their five year old son Jake (Matthew Fenton), Libby is more interested in her new slick, smooth financier boyfriend Whit (Hank Azaria). On an impulse Dennis announces that he is about to run in the same fund-raising London marathon as Whit. First, he has to get fit: his best friend Gordon (Dylan Moran) and landlord Mr Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) become his trainers. But does he have what it takes to finish what he starts?
Review by Louise Keller:
Although I did enjoy the incongruity of the characters, this well-intentioned low brow co-production does not quite make it to the finish line. Finishing what you set out to do is what the film is about and David Schwimmer, who is known more for his acting skills, has surprisingly chosen this comedy with a quirky English tone for his first feature film. I won't make the obvious puns about Schwimmer being out of his depth (oops, just did), but the film lacks the light touch it needs. The film is played for laughs instead of allowing the laughs to evolve naturally.
Talented Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) has co-written the screenplay and stars convincingly as Dennis, the bumbling no-hoper who is terrified of commitment and spends his life running away from every situation. The title, while memorable is misleading. No, Dennis is not fat. Sure, he could lose a few pounds, but he is simply unfit. When the love of his life Libby (Thandie Newton) says 'You've never finished anything in your whole life... not even a sentence,' it is the final straw. How can he win her back and become his son's live-in dad, when there is 'Peter Perfect' (Hank Azaria) with which to contend. Azaria's seemingly perfect Whit, who has a serious job in finance, a plush pad with a view and impressive pecs, quickly gets under Dennis' skin. I did chuckle in the spin class dressing room when a totally naked but cleverly concealed Azaria rubs himself with talc, but when Dennis' compulsive gambling friend Gordon (Dylan Moran) pierces Dennis' humungous blister on the sole of his foot and gets a generous dollop of slimy pus all over his face for his trouble, it is simply gross. Dennis' bulbous Indian landlord Mr Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) has quirky appeal, as does Moran's Gordon but Thandie Newton is wasted with little to do except look pretty.
Much of the time, attempts at humour such as Dennis rubbing himself up against mannequins in the store in which he works as security officer, to satisfy a scrotal itch, fall flat. Passion, determination and stamina are what Dennis needs to gain self respect, win the girl and make it to the marathon's finish line. Only undemanding audiences with no expectations will get anything at all out of this predictable and formulaic film that promises more than it delivers.
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RUN, FAT BOY, RUN (M)
CAST: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel
PRODUCER: Sarah Curtis, Robert Jones
DIRECTOR: David Schwimmer
SCRIPT: Michael Ian Black, Simon Pegg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Greatrex
EDITOR: Michael Parker
MUSIC: Alex Wurman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sophie Becher
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 6, 2008