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Run, Fat Boy, Run

Simon Pegg in Run, Fat Boy, Run

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Gag Reel; Original UK Theatrical Trailer; 14 Deleted Scenes.

YOU might expect a comedy featuring the combined talents of Simon (Shaun of the Dead) Pegg, Hank (The Simpsons) Azaria and David (Friends) Schwimmer to be among the funniest of the year. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

Run, Fat Boy, Run is a mildly amusing experience at best – one that lazily goes for the obvious chuckles while resorting to equally tedious cliche.

Pegg stars as loveable loser Dennis who, five years after jilting his pregnant girlfriend Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar, determines to win her back by running a marathon against her new boyfriend (Hank Azaria), who’s now intending to marry her.

Enlisting the help of his spatula-wielding landlord (Harish Patel) and his slovenly best friend (Dylan Moran), Dennis sets about achieving the impossible while attempting to remain a good role model for his son (Matthew Fenton).

Run, Fat Boy, Run was originally intended as an American comedy based around the New York marathon. But director Schwimmer eventually relocated to England after finding his own comfortable running partner in Pegg, with whom he’d recently worked on the similarly mis-firing Big Nothing.

Pegg gave it a re-write, Anglicised it and removed some of the sentiment – but has still created a vastly inferior comedy to those he creates with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost.

The biggest problem with Run, Fat Boy, Run is its sheer lack of ingenuity. Its story of a loveable rogue who comes good has been done many times better before, while many of its characters conform to easy British stereotype.

Pegg provides an amiable enough leading man and even invests some emotional depth during a nicely played balcony scene with Newton but most of his supporting cast are wasted in thankless, journeyman roles – especially Azaria, who’s story arc feels particularly disappointing.

Schwimmer’s direction displays some promising touches and makes good use of the London locations but it’s small compensation for a film that so often fails to get out of second gear.

Rather than offering an uplifting sprint to the finish, Run, Fat Boy, Run plods its way to an inevitable overdose of schmaltz.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD Release: February 18, 2008