Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.33%
Worth A Look66.67%
Just Average: 10%
Pretty Crappy: 20%
Sucks: 0%

4 reviews, 6 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Suspect by Jack Sommersby

Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something by Rob Gonsalves

Trial of the Chicago 7, The by Rob Gonsalves

St. Elmo's Fire by Jack Sommersby

Talent for the Game by Jack Sommersby

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro by Jay Seaver

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm by Peter Sobczynski

Lupin the Third (2014) by Jay Seaver

Lupin III: The First by Jay Seaver

Caddyshack by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Run, Fat Boy, Run
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Peter Sobczynski

"The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Doofus"
2 stars

“Run Fatboy Run” tells the tale of a lazy, do-nothing bum who is suddenly inspired to pull his life together and make a last-ditch effort to win back the girl he left at the altar five years earlier by entering the London Marathon to run opposite her new fiancee. If only the film itself had shown as much ambition as its lead character, it might have resulted in a funny and knowing human comedy. Alas, it doesn’t and the result is a curious waste of time and talent that offers viewers a bland and entirely too predictable tale that is only enlivened by the occasional flash of wit and a central performance from Simon Pegg that is reasonably entertaining even though it is only a minor variation of the characters that he portrayed in such far more entertaining projects as the cult TV series “Spaced” and the hilarious zombie-studded romantic comedy “Shaun of the Dead.”

Here, Pegg plays working-class slacker Dennis and in the prologue that kicks off the film, he is about to marry seriously pregnant girlfriend Libby (Thandie Newton) when he is suddenly struck with panic at the thought of tackling adult responsibility and literally runs away from the ceremony. When we pick up the story five years later, he is working as a low-level security guard for a lingerie shop, can barely afford the rent on his shabby apartment and his attempts to procure tickets to the stage musical version of “Lord of the Rings” for young son Jake (Matthew Festoon) lands him behind bars instead of in balcony seats. (Okay, he probably got the better end of the deal on that one, but still. . .) Most of all, he regrets breaking up with Libby but despite his efforts to win her back, she somehow manages to find the power to resist his less-than-overwhelming charms.

Matters come to a head when Dennis meets Libby’s new boyfriend, Whit (Hank Azaria), an American financial executive who is charming, kind, generous, successful. . .pretty much everything that Dennis isn’t. Clearly, Dennis realizes that he is no competition for Whit in the contest for Libby’s heart but when he learns that his rival will be running in the upcoming London Marathon–yeah, he is one of those guys who runs marathons for fun–he convinces himself that if he enters and completes the race himself, it will prove to Libby that he is a new and responsible person and will convince her to take him back. There are a couple of minor hitches to this plan. For starters, the race is in less than three weeks and the sign-up period has long since ended. More importantly, while he may not exactly strike most viewers (with the possible exception of Jeffrey Wells) as a “fatboy,” Dennis is not exactly what one might consider to be peak physical condition. How the first problem is solved I will leave for you to discover but regarding the latter, he is aided by best pal Gordon (Dylan Moran, who played Pegg’s rival in “Shaun of the Dead”) and landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) who enact a vague training program that sort of prepares him for the marathon that dominates the final reels of the film.

Because “Run Fatboy Run” was co-written by Pegg, whose “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” were two of the funniest films to come along in recent years, and Michael Ian Black, late of “The State” and “Stella,” you might expect that this film would be a sort of sly subversion of films involving likable losers trying to overcome adversity and gain self-respect by winning some sporting event. And yet, outside of a couple of moments of self-conscious shock humor (including a couple of bits of gratuitous nudity from a supporting character and a fairly repulsive gag–in every sense of the word–involving the bursting of an enormous blister), the most surprising thing about the film is how square it really is. Instead of finding a way to put a spin on otherwise familiar material, the screenplay follows every cliche to a T, right down to the inevitable moment in the third act when the seemingly nice other guy turns out to be a monster and shows his real colors so that our heroine can realize that she is making a big mistake. Just once, I would like to see a movie along these lines where the other boyfriend turns out to be a perfectly decent sort all the way through and the writers are forced to figure out a different way to get to their happy ending. Hell, the movie is so unadventurous that when it gets to the marathon that takes up most of the last half-hour or so, it basically stops trying to be a comedy altogether–it so wants us to care whether or not Dennis manages to finish the race or not (as if that outcome was ever in doubt) that it pretty much forgets that it is supposed to be making us laugh. Marking his first feature directing credit since the 1998 direct-to-video item “Since You’ve Been Gone,” David Schwimmer doesn’t necessarily embarrass himself with his efforts here but there is nothing about his work that makes you eager to see his next directorial effort–he basically treats the entire thing as one long sitcom episode to such an extent that you have expect a laugh track to kick in at some point.

Another problem with the film is that virtually all the characters just aren’t very interesting. Oh, the actors themselves are interesting enough but the characters that they are playing are such complete ciphers that it is almost impossible to work up any sort of enthusiasm for any of them. Pegg gets off a few good lines here and there (I like the moment when he whines “I’m not fat–I’m unfit!”) but the character that he is playing here is, as I stated earlier, just a pale variation of the funny and fully developed people that he portrayed in “Spaced” and “Shaun of the Dead.” Thandie Newton is, of course, one of the most beautiful women appearing in films today but she is also a very good actress as well. However, you wouldn’t be able to guess that from her work here because all she gets to do is either grumble knowingly over Dennis’ latest hare-brained scheme to win her back or smile sweetly–she does both pretty well but it just seems like kind of a waste. Hank Azaria gets a few funny moments early on as well but once he turns into a track-suited monster, he seems as bored and defeated with the sudden change of character as we in the audience are.

The only performer in “Run Fatboy Run” who really makes any sort of impact is newcomer India de Beaufort, who briefly appears in a couple of scenes as the landlord’s daughter. She doesn’t really have much to do but she has a great smile and the kind of cheerful personality that is so infectious that I suspect that most viewers will react to her presence in much the same way that I did–they’ll ask themselves “Who is that person?” and rush home to look her up on IMDB to find out where else she can be found. Alas, her only other credit is for a few episodes of an odd-sounding British comedy series called “The Basil Brush Show.” If “Run Fatboy Run” does nothing else–and believe me, it doesn’t–perhaps it will inspire some enterprising filmmaker or casting agent to look her up and put her in something that will make better use of her considerable presence.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16607&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/28/08 00:00:00
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/07/09 Baloney Snarky and fun, but forgettable 3 stars
8/24/08 George Barksdale good comedy, good story 4 stars
8/02/08 noops nice movie.. climax was awesome!!!! 5 stars
4/13/08 Will Tingle You cant care about (much less like) main charecter, Pegg does his best with weak script 3 stars
3/28/08 Renee Griffin It was pretty good, I will see again 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  28-Mar-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Sep-2008

  07-Sep-2007 (12A)

  DVD: 23-Sep-2008

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast