CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"Run Fatboy Run" quirky comedy goes the distance

In last week's column, I almost made a geographic faux pas, I almost claimed that the Grand Canyon was in Nevada, instead of Arizona. As a former Social Studies teacher, I could never live that mistake down. At least I did not leave my pregnant bride at the altar as Dennis (Simon Pegg) does in the new comedy, **Run Fatboy Run.**

Despite doing such a cruel thing to his bride to be, Libby (Thandie Newton), Dennis is not a bad person. Five years after the broken wedding, Dennis works as a security guard for a British lingerie shop. When a transvestite steals clothing and Dennis is unable to capture the man in a dress, the thief yells: "RUN FATBOY RUN!"

Fortunatly for Dennis, his 5 year old son, Jake (Matthew Fenton) loves him. Unfortunatley for Dennis, Libby is dating his polar opposite, Whit (Hank Azaria), a venture capitalist and marathon runner. As Whit becomes closer to Jake and Libby, Dennis begins to examine his life.

At this point,**Run Fatboy Run** becomes another routine sports movie. Spurred by Libby's impending nuptials, Dennis undergoes training and enters the London marathon. Every sports cliche is turned on their head in **Run Fatboy Run.** Dennis is such an underdog, that the audience forgives his mistreatment of Libby from the start of the movie.

Directed by David (**Friends**) Schwimmer,**Run Fatboy Run** maintain a comic tone from beginning to end. Scwimmer makes good use of his environment to set up some funny visual gags. For every uncomfortable situation one witnesses in **Run Fatboy Run,** there is a comedic moment that unleashes laughter. One uncomfortable scene features an out of shape Dennis, who seeks to help to pop a blister on his foot. His pal Gordon (Dylan Moran) does the deed, but with gross results.

It is the details that make **Run Fatboy Run** a special movie. The overweight Harish Patel portrays Dennis' landlord and coach. His methods of training involves liberal use of a spatula upon Dennis' tiny sports pants from the 1970s. At least Dennis wears pants, compared to the frequently pantless Gordon.
The pantless Gordon forms the film's punctuated closing gag.

People familiar with Simon Pegg's outrageous comedy vehicles like **Shaun of the Dead** and **Hot Fuzz,** will find a sweeter and gentler leading man as Simon. As Whit, Hank Azaria does a convincing job as the perfect rival to Pegg. Azaria is likable at first, but the audience grows to dislike the perfect man. As the voice of reason, Thandie Newton is the straight woman who balances the comic intensity of Azaria and Pegg. With a soundtrack that would be great to hear in a gym, one can bet entertained by watching this Fatboy Run.
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