The Runaway Bridegroom
Five years after running out on his pregnant girlfriend as she waited at the altar, Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg - Hot Fuzz) is starting to regret that decision as he barely sees his son and his ex Libby (Thandie Newton - Norbit) has a confident new American boyfriend, Whit (Hank Azaria - Dodgeball). But in an attempt to prove himself Dennis agrees to run in a marathon despite being completely out of shape in the hope it will show Libby that he has changed and is no longer incapable of completing anything.
Watching "Run Fatboy Run" there is a certain feel of Richard Curtis about it but one which has been spiced up by its star Simon Pegg. It has those flourishes of British humour which make his comedies so much fun, from the occasional inappropriately funny swearing and the embarrassing over the top characters. So it's quite surprising when you realise that directing "Run Fatboy Run" is David Schwimmer, he of "Friends" fame, and that "Run Fatboy Run" was his first major movie as a director. Schwimmer's not done a bad job either with plenty of fun scenes worked around what is in essence a straight forward and obvious storyline.
Frankly the storyline to "Run Fatboy Run" is a simple one and after the amusing set up where Dennis panics and does a runner leaving Libby at the altar it follows a simple underdog formula of the perennial under achiever who decides that for once he will achieve something, which is all tied into a romantic storyline surrounding his love for his ex who is now being wined and dined by a smarmy American. It's simple and doesn't need to be anymore as it trawls through some typical scenes, switching them to be humorous such as when Dennis does one of his many Rocky impersonations and tries to drink a glass of raw eggs.
It is the comedy side of things which makes "Run Fatboy Run" such a pleasure and Simon Pegg manages to take the most obvious of scenes and make them amusing. Simon Pegg is indeed a rare talent who can play the underdog so effectively and make him funny without over egging it. You instantly feel for him even when he is to be frank at fault for missing out on his chance of happiness. As for the actual humour well it is quite British with the occasional unexpected swearing from the unlikeliest of sources as well as a few jokes surrounding sexual innuendo or the obvious blister on foot moment. Plus there are a whole range of quirky characters including the slightly wacky Dylan Moran as Gordon and a brilliant Harish Patel as Dennis's landlord Mr. Goshdashtidar, more recognizable for some from his time on "Coronation Street".
But despite working the simple underdog formula for comedy effect "Run Fatboy Run" does have a surprising tender side, or at least a few pleasant tender scenes. When Dennis is humbling himself to Libby, explaining why he left her standing at the altar because he only wanted to spoil her day not her whole life it delivers some genuine emotion. It's quite pleasant to get these honest moments in a movie which revels in having fun and it's also quite nice that they didn't end up delivering an ending which was too obvious.
Aside from the great performance from Simon Pegg, who is central to the success of "Run Fatboy Run" he does have a good supporting cast in the adorable Thandie Newton as Libby and Hank Azaria as the smarmy, over confident Whit. In fact Azaria is brilliant playing the exact opposite of Pegg and the locker room scene between them is just a brilliantly funny moment of locker room gags.
My only real criticism is that at times the jokes just start to feel a little repetitive, drawn out to the point where the humour is almost lost. It's a small criticism of what is otherwise a good movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Run Fatboy Run" is a pleasant enough comedy that manages to pastiche the underdog story in a very British way. It's very much Pegg's performance which makes it all work so well but he is aided by some good supporting performances and a range of quirky British characters which wouldn't look out of place in any Richard Curtis movie.