Monday, April 7, 2008

The One Where Ross Directed

It may be predictable. It may be a little silly. But Run, Fat Boy, Run is a sweet, funny, entertaining movie that I think everyone who loves sweet, funny and entertaining movies should see.

Simon Pegg is Dennis. A guy who really doesn't have a lot going for him. On his wedding day, he gets extremely cold feet and runs out on his fiancé Libby (Thandie Newton)...who's pregnant. Five years later, he's working a dead-end job, living in a crappy flat, with no love life whatsoever. His life takes another nosedive when he finds out that Libby is serious about an American (Hank Azaria) who's extremely well off--physically and financially. In a bold, if not utterly stupid, attempt to win back Libby's love, Dennis decides to enter the city marathon that Witt (the American) is also running.

If you know anything about marathons, it's good to train FAR in advance. It's absolutely ridiculous to think that an out-of-shape man, whose only run involved chasing a transvestite underwear thief, would be able to compete in a full marathon. That fact makes the movie that much more fun.

In Dennis' mere three weeks of training, he has the help of his crazy landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) and his gambling friend Gordon (Dylan Moran), both who have a stake in the game. Mr. Ghoshdashtidar's daughter plans to evict Dennis if he doesn't run, but Mr. G has a strange faith in Dennis. Gordon, who doesn't seem to be the greatest friend a man could have, has bet money he doesn't have that Dennis will complete the marathon. In a series of cheesy montage scenes (what montage isn't cheesy), we see Dennis quickly melt away his prosthetic pot belly and become a semi-decent runner.

Simon Pegg never fails to make me laugh. The guy just has a knack for being the pitiful one who always saves the day. Thandie Newton plays her part well, but nothing to write home to Mom about. Hank Azaria, for possibly the first time ever, plays the straight man. I don't mean the non-gay man, I mean the non-funny man. He does no accents, no weird physical comedy, nothing. He's just the guy the girl shouldn't be with whom we're all supposed to hate.

For his feature directorial debut, I must say that David Schwimmer did a very fine job. The movie stays real and nothing that shouldn't be forced feels forced. As I said before, it's sweet and funny and entertaining. With the whirlwind of depressing, achingly serious movies from last year, a nice light indie comedy is a really good thing.

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