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|Run Fatboy Run|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir David Schwimmer|
scr Michael Ian Black, Simon Pegg
with Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel, India de Beaufort, Matthew Fenton, Simon Day, Ameet Chana, Denise Lewis, David Walliams, Stephen Merchant
release UK 7.Sep.07, US 26.Oct.07
07/UK Entertainment 1h35
Get a move on: Pegg
It's not hysterically funny, but this British comedy is sharp enough to keep us chuckling right to the predictably sappy conclusion. And it also somehow scrounges a shred of dignity from its most pathetic characters.
Five years after ditching his pregnant fiancee Libby (Newton) at the altar, Dennis (Pegg) works as a security guard, unable to pay his rent and only barely competent enough to spend time with his son Jake (Fenton). But when he meets Libby's slick new American boyfriend Whit (Azaria), he snaps, agreeing to join Whit in a charity marathon. Now, with the help of his even more incompetent friend Gordon (Moran), Dennis decides that this race will be the first thing in his life he's ever seen through. Even if it kills him.
"I'm not fat," Dennis whines, "I'm unfit." Indeed, he's such a lazy, chain-smoking slacker that it's hard to understand how he could run to the kitchen, let alone 26 miles through central London. The only thing that seems to work in his chaotic life is his close relationship with his son, who sees him more as another naughty boy than as a dad. It's not easy for us to like Dennis in this film; no matter how much Pegg does to make him endearing, he's an idiot.
The solution is to make everyone around him even worse: Azaria nails the slimy high-achiever, while Moran is hilarious as the low-life slob. Since these are the only three men in London, Dennis gets our support to win the hand of the gorgeous, surprisingly lively and funny Newton. And once the formula kicks in, there's no stopping it. But at least the cast has a lot of fun with the characters.
The film has a gently humorous tone punctuated by wacky moments like a squirm-inducing locker-room scene and a seriously nasty blister. These warped touches save the film from its overpowering sentimentality. In his feature directing debut, Schwimmer wrings the big-hearted romance and prove-yourself footrace for every bit of emotion, reducing the characters to their schematic basics: good, bad, sweet, cute. Fortunately, by the time we get to the contrived finale, the they've won us over.
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© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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