Run Fatboy Run Movie Review
Directed by David Schwimmer
Written by Michael Ian Black (story, screenplay) and Simon Pegg (screenplay
Release Date: 28 March 2008
Running Time: 100 minutes
Editor’s Rating: 3 baseball-sized blisters out of 4
So, sometimes, life is tough. We have lives. We work, we play, we do stuff with other people, and then we go to sleep. But there’s a bunch of crap in-between those events, as well as the bunch of crap that’s included with doing those things I mentioned before. There’s even crap we’ve had built up when we were growing up and have never got around to clean it up. When our internal crap level ends up running over the recommended fill line, things get really nasty and we do things we regret. Sometimes it’s just a temper tantrum you end up having in the privacy of your own car, but sometimes you do things… publicly.
Dennis (Simon Pegg) did one of those things five years ago. He had a lovely fiance, Libby (Thandie Newton), that he lovingly knocked up, and then lovingly decided to marry so the son he was going to lovingly raise wasn’t going to be lovingly born out of wedlock. So on his wedding day, he lovingly buckled under his fear of loving commitment, and, um, not-so-lovingly bolted down the aisle in the wrong direction, his tail tucked lovingly between his legs.
Back to the present. Dennis is the father of a cute little tyke named Jake, and he shares custody with Libby in what can be called a rather genial arrangement, given the circumstances. He’s an out-of-shape mall security guard that smokes living in a crappy London basement flat owned by the family that lives above him, while Libby owns her own bakery and seems to have a whole townhouse to herself. So it’s only natural that, given the time that what’s-his-face has been twiddling his thumbs, that she might find somebody new.
Welp, now I guess we know why this film takes place five years after Dennis bolts. Enter Whit, a capitalist scumbag from the word go, has taken an interest in Lib and Jake, pursuing her with a paper-thin nice guy facade. Seeing this provokes a caveman-level defensive response from Dennis, as he sees Whit trying to horn in on his ex-girl that he’s never really stopped loving. However, he doesn’t have a patch on Whit, as the Brits would say, with Whit having the superior financial position, personality, and fitness level. He’s so fit he runs marathons, and can’t wait to complete the Nike River Run along the Thames coming up soon. Whoop-de-freakin-doo.
Wait… what is Dennis doing? He’s not really going to decide to run the marathon on some half-cocked ambition to impress Libby enough to get him back, is he?
Well, that is the name of the movie, folks.
I’ll be honest. I get nervous when I see Simon Pegg in a film and Nick Frost or Edgar Wright aren’t attached to it. Like it or not, he does his best work when he’s got his buds along for the ride. Here though, I was happy to be proven wrong. Run Fatboy Run stands on its own two feet quite competently, treading the fine line between a good film and another crap-a-dozen romcom. The relationship between Libby and Dennis is believable and multi-dimensional - there isn’t a bad guy or good guy here, it’s just two people trying to work through their own stuff with each other while trying to raise a kid they had before at least one of them was ready to.
Something I applaud Fatboy for is the amount of agency that it gives to Libby. The choices she makes throughout the film make sense for her and Jake. Really, Dennis isn’t the main character, Libby is. She’s the one who decides to move on, she wisely remains ambivalent when Dennis makes the harebrained commitment to the marathon, and it’s ultimately her decision to go back to him in the end. Some of that comes from the script, but it’s really Thandie Newton’s performance that deserves the credit here. She does a fine job, and she should definitely be in more things.
All in all, Fatboy is a little curveball to the traditional romcom, and it’s the little differences and odd paths it chooses that makes it preferable to your generic Katherine Heigl/Cameron Diaz clones. If you happen to cross paths with this film for some reason, give it a shot. It’ll be a good time.
**I own this film. I was not compensated for this review.**
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