Simon Pegg, from Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame stars as Dennis, a 30 something underachiever who never finishes anything. Including marry his pregnant fiancé Libby (Thandie Newton). On the day of their wedding, Dennis succumbs to his fears and, you guessed it, runs away from his from future family. Flash forward several years and Dennis has gotten nowhere. He’s a security guard for a woman’s clothing store and a let down as a father. Enter Whit, played by Hank Azaria from The Simpsons. He’s everything that Dennis isn’t- Smart, successful and a marathon runner. Worst of all, Libby and Dennis’ son Jake love him. In order to win back his family, Dennis decides to run the fictitious Nike marathon in London, to prove that he can finish something he’s started.
Sadly, the laughs are few and far between in this film written by Michael Ian Black (VH1’s I love The70’s, 80’s and 90’s). The cast does its best, but the material just isn’t funny. In one scene, Dennis has to chase down a drag queen shoplifter; the result is so cliché and drawn out that the initial comedic value is lost long before the chase is over. This kind of thing would be acceptable if it didn’t happen throughout the movie. Over and over again a joke that is initially only chuckle worthy is drawn out, it left this audience member feeling bored and looking at her watch. The brightest spots in Run Fat Boy, Run come from Dennis’ relationship with Mr. Ghoshdashtidar, his landlord and Gordon, his best friend, played by Dylan Moran who starred in Shaun of the Dead with Pegg. The interaction between these three characters is heart-warming, funny and dare I say it….genuine. And therein lies one of the major problems with this film…I mean besides the unfunny. I became more invested with the relationship between Dennis and his friends than I was in Dennis’ relationship with Libby and Jake. I wanted Dennis to complete the marathon so he wouldn’t let those characters down. NOT because I wanted Libby to come back to him or even because I wanted him to do it for himself. This stems from the fact that the scenes between Libby, Dennis and Jake are flat and unfeeling. Dennis does very little to help the audience root for him. I did so only because I cared about his friend’s, sometimes selfish hope’s for him.
The movie’s resolution feels haphazardly slapped together and yes, NOT FUNNY. Run Fat Boy, Run had a lot of promise. It just needed a better script. This one’s a, “For rent only” deal- As long as you can get it from one of those dollar per night machines. And even then, you might be sorry.