The shape of things

RUN, FAT BOY, RUN Di­rected by David Sch­wim­mer. Star­ring Si­mon Pegg, Thandie New­ton, Dylan Mo­ran, Har­ish Pa­tel, Hank Azaria, In­dia de Beau­fort 12A cert, gen re­lease, 95 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews Film - DON­ALD CLARKE

WHAT do you get if you take Mrs Doubt­fire and re­place Robin Wil­liams’s com­edy bo­soms with Si­mon Pegg’s chaffed tes­ti­cles? Well, a greatly im­proved en­tity to be sure. Run, Fat Boy, Run, the sec­ond film di­rected by David Sch­wim­mer, is no clas­sic, but it demon­strates that Pegg, even when work­ing on cruise con­trol, is ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing more laughs than, well, a nui­sance in a dress.

This ro­man­tic com­edy be­gan life as an Amer­i­can script with, Sch­wim­mer has con­fessed, Jack Black’s name pen­cilled hope­fully next to the lead. A re­write from Pegg has left us with an ac­cept­able low-key com­pan­ion to the eco­nomic epics that were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It’s messy and ob­vi­ous, but fun.

Pegg, a slovenly loser, dumps his preg­nant fi­ancee (Thandie New­ton), a baker of pink del­i­ca­cies, at the al­tar and launches him­self into a life of beer and af­ter­noon television. Some years later, he be­comes an­gry when Hank Azaria – the sort of evil busi­ness­man whose lap­top al­ways dis­plays graphs – be­gins mov­ing in on his for­mer lover.

Pegg, ter­mi­nally un­fit, de­cides that the only way to atone for his ear­lier cow­ardice and win back the girl is to com­pete along­side the buff Amer­i­can in an up­com­ing marathon All he has to do is fin­ish.

Dylan Mo­ran, very funny in the role that nor­mally goes to Nick Frost in Pegg pro­duc­tions, is just one of a dozen or so recog­nis­able comic ac­tors of­fer­ing agree­able sup­port. David Wal­liams de­serves par­tic­u­lar credit for his tiny cameo as a per­nick­ety shop­per in search of con­fec­tionary rabbits.

There are, it is true, some very clumsy and un­sub­tle mo­ments in Run, Fat Boy, Run. Azaria, a de­cent ac­tor with a wide range, does ev­ery­thing but cackle and roll a mous­tache dur­ing his schem­ing, and the scenes with Pegg’s son are cloy­ingly sen­ti­men­tal.

But, given its pe­cu­liar his­tory, this pic­ture is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than we had a right to ex­pect. I sup­pose the dis­trib­u­tors would like me to say run, don’t walk, to Fat Boy. That would be over­stretch­ing it a tad. But you might like to, at least, jog to­wards the cin­ema.

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