Run Fatboy Run (2008)
Run Fatboy Run (2008)

Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: March 28th, 2008 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: David Schwimmer Actors: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, India de Beaufort, Ruth Sheen, Matthew Fenton

 


 

C

onsidering that “Run Fatboy Run” was originally slated for a year ago, it comes as no surprise that the film is simply terrible. Unable to determine in which direction it wants to go, this laughless comedy stumbles in the arena of romance, infused with valuable moral lessons, but doesn’t adequately succeed at anything it sets out to accomplish. Chopped together with little thought and the plausibility of utter nonsense, “Run Fatboy Run” is a project that should have spent another year trying to sort out its messy storyline.

Dennis (Simon Pegg) seems incapable of finishing anything in his life. He left his pregnant fiancé Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar five years ago, and now lives to regret it, working as a mall shop security guard and constantly getting locked out of his tiny apartment. When Libby’s new boyfriend Whit (Hank Azaria) decides to butt in on Dennis’ fragile relationship with Libby, as well as with their son Jake, Dennis realizes just how much he allowed to slip away.

When Whit mentions that he has entered into a marathon race for charity, Dennis sees this as an opportunity to compete for the woman he loves. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe he can ever change, or that she could ever take him back. But that doesn’t stop Dennis from training to miraculously compete in the race – taking place in a mere three weeks.

That’s right – three weeks to participate in a marathon. The finer points of marathon-running aside, that sounds awfully shy of the regular timeframe that would likely be necessary to strengthen the mind and body to take part in such a rigorous event. Needless to say, much of “Run Fatboy Run” is grossly unrealistic – from the stress-free training (with his landlord wielding a spatula, much like flying wrenches in “Dodgeball”) to the outlandish, improbable re-budding romance between Dennis and Libby.

Adding to the lack of realism (which predictably includes Hank Azaria’s character of Whit, who immediately appears as the unmatchable “Mr. Right,” turning devilishly unsporting in the end) is the mysterious absence of laughs. It doesn’t matter that Dennis has to perpetually remain the underdog to muster sympathy and a sense of righteousness for his romantic efforts, or that Whit must generically do randomly appalling things to make himself less appealing – “Run Fatboy Run” doesn’t capitulate in the area of commonplace scripting. In fact, it seems to go the extra mile to make the wannabe jokes and recycled gags even more agonizingly bad, as if proud of the monotony. Resorting to “Libby’s Nice Buns” as the name of her bakery, old ladies making dirty remarks, uncomfortable male nudity, and little kids flipping off Dennis as he waves to them, “Run Fatboy Run” exhibits the most immature and laugh-free comedy imaginable.

It’s difficult to picture Libby ever taking Dennis back, especially as he presents himself as a total loser during the entire film; or his son Jake being so surprisingly accepting of his father’s slack dedication to visits and father/son time; or his perseverance bordering on stupidity; or his being ridiculed as fat (he’s simply unfit). But even if viewers forgive the obvious faults to the horribly dull, boy-loses-girl storyline, what they won’t dismiss so easily are the misfires during nearly every scene of humor. When one joke doesn’t work, the filmmakers (including David Schwimmer in the director’s chair) cannot simply repeat it over and over again. The odds of it getting funnier are as slim as winning a marathon without any training.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10