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Apr 9, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Run Fatboy Run

I mean no pun intended when I say that Run Fatboy Run starts you off on the wrong foot. You see, when you have a schlub that ditches anyone (much less Thandie Newton) at the altar, it's hard to feel for them later. Granted, the film is about nothing if not redemption and forgiveness, but perhaps a little "get to know ya" before showing the character metaphorically kicking a dog isn't the best way to gain an audience's trust.

That, however, is probably the least of Fatboy's problems.

Considering the writers behind it, Fatboy should have been a smartly written comedy. Star/writer Simon Pegg and co-writer Michael Ian Black have nothing if not a great track record, including Black's Stella and The State, and Pegg's Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. However, one can't help but think that a sitcom veteran like director David Schwimmer is responsible for making the movie feel so...sitcom-y. It's full of pratfalls and cartoonish characters, and though it's hard to expect full-fleshed characters, it's downright depressing to see Newton's Libby reduced to being nothing more than a prize, an object for Pegg and co-star Hank Azaria to attain.

And poor Azaria. We know immediately that his character will be the antagonist, since he's the new man in Libby's life. However, it's almost as though the filmmakers decided there wasn't enough drama in the movie, so they changed him from being a competitor to a downright evil scoundrel. What's worse is that, at one point, he says something that's supposed to be shocking and offensive (and turn the characters and audience against him), but I found myself turning to Mrs. Fletch and saying that I'd do the same thing in that situation, wondering if that made me evil as well?

But, like much of the movie, everything is supposed to be black and white. Either Pegg's Dennis is an unredemptive asshole or he's a charming scamp who was just looking out for Libby when he ditched her. Either Azaria's Whit (a classic character for an antagonist if ever there was one - who's gonna root for a guy named "Whit?") is a rich, loving potential mate for Libby, or he's an inch away from being a wife-beater that hates kids. Dennis either runs the marathon and starts a domino-effect that will reap benefits for many, or he won't run it, ruining his life and those of just as many.

All that said, the funniest part about the movie is something that I'd swear wasn't even intended or thought of. Man-child that he is, Dennis lives in a frumpy, disheveled apartment that might look like that of any single 25 year-old man. On one of his walls hangs a poster for Team America: World Police. And yet, it's obvious that no one watched that movie, as there we are an hour into Fatboy watching Dennis hone his body into running shape...in the form of (wait for it) a montage.

"The hours approaching, to give it your best
You've got to reach your prime.
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test
And show us a passage of time
Were going to need a montage (montage)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage)

Show a lot of things happening at once,
Remind everyone what’s going on (what’s going on)
And when every shot you show a little improvement
Just show it all or it will take too long
That’s called a montage (montage)
Ooh we want montage (montage)

And anything that we want to know
From just a beginner to a pro,
You want a montage (montage)
Even Rocky had a montage (montage)


Anything that we want to know
From just a beginner to a pro,
You need a montage (montage)
Ooh it takes a montage (montage)

Always fade out in a montage,
If you fade out it seems like more time has passed in a montage

(lyrics by Trey Parker)

Fletch's Film Rating:

"I want you to punch me as hard as you can."

6 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Run Fatboy Run"

Daniel G. said...

who's gonna root for a guy named "Whit?"

Haha, so true. This really did turn out to be a disappointing movie, but I haven't given up on Pegg at all. Like you, I hardly hold it against him.

Nick said...

haha, I caught the Team America thing, too... but I thought it was funny for other reasons. I totally didn't catch the 'montage' thing.

soundtrackgeek said...

Oooh, I've only read two review sof this one before yours and both were positive. Maybe I'll go back to my original stance: A movie with such a silly poster can't be funny.

Well we'll see. I'll probably end up seeing this one day.

Clive Dangerously said...

I took the montage thing as intentional.

Anonymous said...

Has Hank Azaria ever played a believable character? I like him, but it seems he's frequently cast as ridiculous caricature (best example: America's Sweethearts).

Fletch said...

C'mon - you're calling his effete, faux-British, fork-throwing wannabe superhero from Mystery Men unbelievable? How dare you!