You know, just the other day, as I was flipping through a back issue of Reader's Digest on the sundeck of my yacht, I thought to myself: "Eskimo, my boy, you need to have a more positive outlook on life." I mention this only because I think it is ironic that the very next day I had to sit through David Schwimmer's comedy film, Run Fat Boy Run.
So what can I say that is positive about this movie ………………………… well……………………. um……………. OK dammit, I guess the ending was pretty good. At least it was funny, if not totally obvious and expected. And Simon Pegg was pretty good as the lead, but after seeing him in films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this role felt kind of flat.
I feel like some people really would enjoy this movie, because it is funny and heartwarming in a sense, but unfortunately for me it included one of my biggest pet peeves: lazy filmmaking. In fact, I recall one moment in particular that I actually yelled at the screen.
Let me explain: You see, the crux of this movie is that Simon Pegg's character, Dennis, is planning to run a marathon to prove to his ex-girlfriend that he can finish what he started. Of course, Dennis waits until the last minute to sign up, so he has trouble finding a sponsor. Then…OOPS!...he falls down a flight of stairs, and conveniently injures a person who was also planning to run in the marathon. What a coincidence! (sarcasm) Now Dennis can take his place…problem solved. (disdain)
Now, some of you may be thinking, "Come on. Lighten up. This is a romantic comedy…not an Oscar bid…the plot elements don't have to be perfect." And I would agree with you….but what I don't agree with is lazy filmmaking. It would've taken all of five minutes to think of a more believable, yet funny, way for Dennis to get into the marathon other than falling down stairs. (And, by the way, falling down stairs stopped being funny when I was eight.)
Anyway, that is just one example of many similar problems I had with this movie. It seemed like the filmmakers rushed through the first half of the movie…not really caring how it played out…just to get to the last fifteen minutes which is the best part anyway. That is my overall problem with Run Fatboy Run. I didn't care until the end…and by that point any redeeming qualities were hopelessly lost.
Not very positive, but at least I'm honest.
He Said: Skip it...rent Shaun of the Dead instead.
A couple of years ago, at the age of 36, a group of my crazy friends talked me (who had never run in her life) into training for a half-marathon. We formed the Half-Crazy Marathon Club ('cause we figured if we ran half-marathons only, we'd still have enough energy to shop afterwards). We began our training in April and ran the St. Jude's Marathon in December.
A couple of weeks ago, I rented Shaun of the Dead (with Run Fatboy Run's Simon Pegg as the lead and co-writer in that movie too) and finally got around to watching it during one particularly sleepless night recently. Neither movie was quite what I expected, but with one I was pleasantly surprised and with the other I was a bit disappointed.
Run Fatboy Run disappointed me not so much because it was horrible but because it could have been so much better. It could've joined a canon of endearing, funny running scenes in movie history (think Forrest Gump whose "Run, Forrest, Run!" I suspect is the take on the title) - but instead only leaves us with the slapstick comedy of Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) in outlandish (and too tiny) running clothes. It leaves you with the laugh of seeing that man on the beach who shouldn't be in a Speedo (easily gotten and easily forgotten)
I was especially disappointed with the writing in the movie. The majority of the jokes that rely on the writing rather than the actors could all be boiled down to I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I? put-downs. There's really not one line in the movie that I would quote to you, which is really unheard of for me.
Honestly, I was almost ready to stop watching the movie in its first 5 minutes. The leaving-the-pregant-girl-at-the-altar opening scene was that painful - poorly written, poorly set up, poorly shot. The formulaic romantic comedy set-up was oddly forced (considering that it was a little novel in its premise) - and there was no real chemistry between any of the supposedly romantic characters in the movie.
But what saved the movie for me was Simon Pegg. And Dylan Moran too (Dennis's best friend, Gordon). If you like Simon Pegg, you will enjoy the movie. If you don't, you probably won't. The laughs that don't fall flat are all from the good comedic timing and rapport between these two. Pegg is similar to Chevy Chase and Steve Martin for me - he doesn't even have to say anything for me to laugh. The expression on his face is enough.
She Said: It's an acceptable movie for a rainy day when you just want a mindless romantic comedy. Don't expect too much from it and it won't let you down. (Kind of like Dennis, really.)
After reading each other's reviews, The Eskimo and Shawn always discuss the reviews (and the film, too, of course). Listen to the Run Fatboy Run audio commentary here or in the player below. (And find out which film The Eskimo picked to review next.)