30 March 2008

Mooney at the Movies: Run, Fatboy, Run

"You mean to tell me I made less money than 10,000 B.C., College Road Trip, AND Never Back Down?! That's worse than my blister!" (Picturehouse)

Run, Fatboy, Run (B+)

Starring Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel
Written by Michael Ian Black & Simon Pegg
Directed by David Schwimmer

So Run Fatboy Run didn't do much at the box office this weekend, but that shouldn't deter you from seeing one of the year's funniest movies.

From master of sarcasm Michael Ian Black and the master of playing the lovable loser Simon Pegg comes this Brit import, already a minor hit in the UK. You've probably seen the story a dozen times before, but thanks to sharp writing and one particularly great supporting performance (Moran), the gang finds a way to make it fresh.

So that story? Basically, Dennis (Pegg) freaks out and leaves his pregnant girlfriend Libby (Newton) at the altar, then tries to win her back five years later. Alas, she's dating the nice-seeming, ridiculously wealthy and ambitious Whit (Azaria, always a great second banana).

In an effort to prove he's turned his life around, Dennis agrees to run the Nike RiverRun Marathon alongside Whit. Of course, as the titular fatboy, he's not in Hot Fuzz shape. Then again, this is England we're talking about, and fat to them is maybe 15 pounds above normal. This isn't a Jared from Subway transformation.

And through rigorous training from his landlord (Patel, who will kick him out if he doesn't finish the race), and his former almost brother-in-law (the hilarious Moran, who stands to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling if he doesn't finish the race), Pegg starts to lose that gut, though not without enduring an unholy blister--which leads to one of the film's funniest scenes.

Unfortunately, Run Fatboy Run is not in the same league as Pegg's collaborations with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, but it's still got heart and humor to spare, and it's far better than most of the dreck we get early in the year. In other words, it's a comedic delicacy. Seek it out.

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