» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

April 7, 2008
RATING: 7/10
It's easy (and fun!) to scoff away at films that recycle old storyline devices and attempt to pass them off as new. Usually that sort of thing makes me furious, or at the very least annoyed and/or whiny. But on occasion a movie will follow a path so over-tread that to find someone daring to breathe new life into it is a surprise. Of course such efforts generally fail in their attempts to resurrect a dead horse, and more often than not they fail miserably. But when a good screenwriter is paired with a good director, and the cast is filled with respectable talent, it is possible that - storyline be damned! - the dead horse can brought to its feet and even run a dozen metaphorical furlongs.

In the case at hand, Michael Ian Black is the screenwriter, David Schwimmer is the director, and Simon Pegg (among others) is the talent. The well-worn premise is that of the underdog/romantic comedy, and the conceptually ill-advised attempt lands oddly near the mark in Run, Fat Boy, Run. To be sure, a more predictable film - a British comedy about a flawed London man who, because of a stupid decision five years ago, must now face his fears and win back the woman of his dreams from a perfect-seeming rival - would be hard to find. This is High Fidelity without the ex-girlfriends. This is Mrs. Doubtfire without the disguises. Ocean's Eleven without the Cloonz. The plot is in fact so basic that when still employed this storyline is often an afterthought, given less focus than more exciting hijinx and twists like casino heists.

Simon Pegg as an overweight smoker working to win back his dream girl.

Whether or not they believed their film's plot to be so simple as to avoid scrutiny, or so groundbreakingly new as to escape question (trusting in good intentions on the part of the Black/Schwimmer/Pegg combo I will assume the former), the filmmakers of Run, Fat Boy, Run choose to back off on the situational intensity and use the storyboard as a blank canvas upon which to paint clever dialogue, sight gags, and solid characters without distraction. There will be no gasps of surprise at the outcome when the attempt by Dennis (Pegg) to challenge his ex-fiancee's new beau (Hank Azaria) has run its course, nor will there be any life lessons about not run away from problems to retain. But I would bet a summer home in the Hamptons that moviegoers will remember the naked ass that Gordon (Dylan Moran) randomly keeps hidden under his balcony railings, not to mention the look on the face of Dennis's son, Jake (Matthew Fenton), when telling his dad that his prospective girlfriend resembles a tree-frog. This sort of writing is pliable enough that it could work stretched over any basic plot frame: "boy dates girl to win a bet but inadvertently falls in love only to have it all fall apart when the girl learns of the wager," or "stuffy teacher tries to make a difference in the ghetto," or "two police partners get over their differences to find out what teamwork is all about."* Here the battleground for plot metaphors is not a bowling alley, a bad neighborhood, or a police station downtown, but a London marathon.

Run, Fat Boy, Run is light as air, just as a romantic comedy should be. It actually goes through all the motions that a romantic comedy usually does (including a training montage!), only the writing is more keen than usual and the acting is worthy of more laughs. No different than its innumerable underdog/romantic comedy predecessors, just Britishly enhanced, Run, Fat Boy, Run goes to show that dead horses, if properly handled, can still be made to run.

*Wait, Hot Fuzz! [LAS feature]

SEE ALSO: www.runfatboyrunmovie.com

Susan Howson
A staff writer attending graduate school in Richmond, VA, Susan Howson cannot be persuaded to stop talking about movies.

See other articles by Susan Howson.



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