From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
‘Run, Fat Boy, Run’ trots out laughs in Schwimmer’s debut
New York-born actor David Schwimmer makes his feature film directorial debut with the entertaining British comedy “Run, Fat Boy, Run.”It sounds weird, but the actor formerly known as Ross from “Friends” proves he has a good eye and fun sense of humor.
But the formulaic film owes most of its charm and hilarity to its star and co-writer, Simon Pegg (“Hot Fuzz”). The English funnyman manages to make his slacker character a loveable loser worth cheering on.
Pegg stars as Dennis, a paunchy, chain-smoking goofball who leaves his gorgeous, pregnant fiancee Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar because he is afraid to get married.
Five years later, Dennis still desperately loves Libby, but their involvement doesn’t go beyond his role as the fun-loving but sometimes unreliable father to their son, Jake (wonderfully precocious Matthew Fenton). Dennis stays perpetually behind on the rent for his tiny, junky apartment, works as a lowly security guard at a women’s clothing shop and still dodges grown-up responsibilities at every turn.
But he gets a wake-up call when Libby starts dating Whit (Hank Azaria), a handsome, wealthy American hedge fund manager. Dennis knows his window for winning back Libby could be slamming shut, and he is desperate to prove his worth to his ex and son.
When he learns Whit plans to run for charity in a London marathon, Dennis vows to run, too. He hopes to show Libby, Jake and himself that he actually can finish something he starts. His promise seems destined to go unfulfilled until his best pal, Gordon (comic standout Dylan Moran), bets big money that Dennis will finish the race.
Gordon puts the “not fat but unfit” first-time marathoner on a training regime.
The zany supporting characters, Pegg’s goggle-eyed reactions and uproarious gags keep the laughs rolling.
The script by Pegg and Michael Ian Black won’t win any awards for originality. But the movie trots out many laughs and exudes a warmth that doesn’t get too fuzzy.