Run, Fat Boy, Run has caused some friction in the I Hate How Fake Hollywood Is... camp. Initial reviews haven’t been consistent; Empire gave it 3 stars (which sounds fine until you compare it to the 4’s it gave to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Pegg’s previous gems) but it faired reasonably well on Rotten Tomatoes and they’ve split us slightly. Ben, low on cinema going funds with many possibly better opportunities on which to spend his pennies deemed it something he’d wait for the DVD of. Fair enough, but I’m not that patient and so with a freshly paid allowance I decided I’d give it a shot and so did Alex (although I bagsied reviewing privileges before hand.) So a motley crew was gathered together, and we were cinema bound! Get on with the review I hear you shout, well, fine…here it is.
I was pleasantly surprised…the film I saw wasn’t nearly as bad as the one described in its reviews, but then I suppose they could have mixed the reels up. The gags weren’t predictable (as Empire had described them) and Pegg easily led the film, backed up by a whole host of excellent comedic actors playing some great characters. Run, Fat Boy, Run had a couple of pretty successful and handsome big brothers to try and live up to (despite not being part of the Ice Cream Trilogy, it’s always going to be compared to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and it did very well with style and ease.
The plot goes that Pegg’s character leaves his pregnant girlfriend at the altar (basically because he’s scared shitless, but there’s an excellent cameo by a ginger hair piece in the early movie) which leads to him falling into a life of slobbish disregard for himself. He then finds out about the new man in her life and sees competition he’s never had before. And thus the duel begins, the outcome you’ll have to find out by getting your butt to the cinema, but lets just say our anti-hero is helped along the way by the Irish cousin of aforementioned girlfriend and his over weight, spatula wielding, moped riding landlord. While Whit (who I have cunningly renamed ‘the Twit’) needs the help of no one, not that there’d be any space in the room, his ego is already lounging on every available surface.
I think Simon Pegg deserves an award simply for being filmed in the most appalling pair of lycra shorts cinema has ever seen, seriously - new category at the Baftas. His slob was made likeable and realistic (with the help of a fat suit), you can’t help but for him to beat the living monkeys out of Twit or whatever his name was. He made up for the lack of Nick Frost by taking advantage of good chemistry with the rest of the cast, particularly Dylan Moran (his Irish friend, a regular collaborator with Pegg) and Harish Patel (his slightly unhinged landlord.)
Moran was brilliant as the Irish best friend/cousin (seemingly part of the most multi-cultural family in all of filmdom) who was something of a scene stealer, involved in a seedy gambling group, chain smoking and inclined towards worryingly incestuous comments.
The American ‘perfect’ guy, Whit, who turns out to be an utter bastard (oh, come on. We all saw it coming) is played by Hank ‘voices most of the minor characters in the Simpsons’ Azaria. Previously I’d only ever seen him act, act in Friends and then a Julia Roberts movie where he ponces around in Speedos and talks in a funny accent – so I wasn’t sure how he’d fare against his cast makes. I’m happy to say I under estimated him, he plays an excellent bastard.
Thandie Newton, who most people will recognise from Crash and possibly the Pursuit of Happyness, I sadly recognised from her brief stint in ER – but no more should be said about it. Her character was probably the one with the least ‘funny potential’ written into the script, but she played Libby well, to the extent that you didn’t immediately label her as the one put in to bump up the serious factor. She had quirks rather than obvious funniness and I think that stopped the film from being a little too sickly in the laugh department.
It has to be said the old ones were still the best. The profanity spewing little old lady, the inappropriately disgusting expulsion of bodily fluids (from a highly unlikely place – you’ve seen it in the trailer, but the entire scene is just so much better), the Asian landlord who came up with an excellent metaphor that made me chuckle long after the rest of the audience had stopped (its about toothpaste, look out for it) and the kid spewing profanities - not that this film bases itself on comedic swearing.
David Schwimmer should be very proud of this film, he’s doing something quite brave by switching from acting – a career for which he is so well known and this may help him lose the ‘Ross from Friends’ tagline that voice work in animated films was never going to touch. It is most definitely the best of his directing efforts thus far and I look forward to seeing more of like this in the future.
The general consensus from my fellow cinema goers was that it was ‘dead good’ – and these people are taking English, worrying isn’t it? But yeah, it seemed to go down better than expected, even if they did only have sweet popcorn at the schnack stand, which put something of a dampener on the opening. And this wasn’t deemed to be ‘too boyish’ by the owners of two X chromosomes as Hot Fuzz was (something I, a couple of shiny X’s completely disagree with by the way, Hot Fuzz was brilliant.) I warn ye, this isn’t one for the squeamish…or those with a nudity phobia but it’s most definitely worth the price of a cinema ticket.
Genre Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5