Run, Fatboy, Run is the type of romantic comedy apt to be described as “nice” or “sweet,” both of which are codewords for “unexceptional” and “useless.” Though it could have been helmed by any number of nondescript directors, it’s Ross Gellar himself, David Schwimmer, who guides this tale from clichéd start to clichéd finish. As with Frank Oz’s recent Death at a Funeral, Schwimmer’s directorial debut is a faux-British import, recounting without an ounce of authentic UK spirit the London-set saga of Dennis (Simon Pegg), a loser who abandons pregnant Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar and, five years later, attempts to win her back—and away from cocky American hedge-fund manager Whit (Hank Azaria)—by participating in a marathon for charity. The big theme at play here is that Dennis needs to stop running away from responsibility, though it’s difficult to comprehend why artists don’t want to furiously flee the moldy formulas that are fatally constricting this stuck-in-a-rut genre. Run, Fatboy, Run so slavishly hews to a familiar rom-com template that it quickly makes itself irrelevant, its few idiosyncratic particulars unable to prevent everything from feeling like the same-old tripe with a cute Brit accent. Just as exasperating as its unoriginality, however, is that it never puts much effort toward building up humorous steam, nor manages—after Dennis’s cowardly initial behavior—to redeem its protagonist (or even make him seem very likeable) to a point that we might be compelled to root for his redemption. No one involved does particularly poor work, but neither do they offer anything more than bland competence in service of Pegg and Michael Ian Black’s paint-by-numbers script. Meanwhile, the film’s idea that repeating shots of a man’s naked ass is comedically inspired ultimately proves almost as baffling as the fact that Pegg, a man who couldn’t possibly be described as more than paunchy, is somehow supposed to be the titular fatboy.
- 95 min
- David Schwimmer
- Michael Ian Black, Simon Pegg
- Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Ameet Chana, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel
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