Remember David Schwimmer? Sure you do, he was the annoying guy on Friends who got to hook up with Rachel (it’s Ross, if you’re having trouble following along). Well since his acting gigs have mostly dried up, he’s decided to try his hand at directing. His first foray into this uncharted territory for him is the comedy, Run, Fatboy, Run.
To try and ensure success, he’s managed to pull Michael Ian Black from those horrid VH1, I Love the 80’s shows to write the screenplay, which is about a “lovable loser” who leaves his pregnant fiancée at the altar only to realize years later that he’s made a mistake. He also somehow convinced Simon Pegg, of Hot Fuzz fame, to lend his comedic talents to the role of Dennis, the loser in question. Even Hank Azaria, best known for his voice talents on The Simpsons, gets involved as the asshole new boyfriend. Good idea and good casting but it’s all for naught — this comedy stumbles and trips out of the starter’s block.
This can mostly be attributed to the fact that there is nothing lovable or likable about the Dennis character. There weren’t any endearing qualities or quirks that were particularly amusing. I thought he was a complete wanker and fully deserved the situation he found himself in. It’s an uphill battle to find sympathy for a guy who abandons his girlfriend on their wedding day. It’s difficult to show compassion for a man who forgets about his visitation times with his son. And moreover, nothing would have changed for him had it not been for the fact his ex-girlfriend, Libby (Thandie Newton), had found a new boyfriend, so what exactly am I cheering for?
To offset his glibness, characters like Mr. Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) and Gordon (Dylan Moran) are paraded into the film. Mr. Ghoshdashtidar is the typical Indian in a Western cultured movie. He’s solely put in place for us to make fun of his accent and for us to poke fun at his look and his actions. Gordon is a bit more difficult to figure out. He’s a textbook scumbag – he leeches off of his friends, gambles away any free money he has, has a big fuck you attitude and has a freakish dislike of pants and underwear. But of all the people we’re introduced to in Run, Fatboy, Run, he’s actually the only one with any personality. Without his intermittent moments of ridiculousness, this movie would be a complete loss.
I would have liked to have seen Hank Azaria’s character, Whit, be more than the typical American, imperialistic asshole. I realize we are imperialistic assholes, but do we always have to be categorized as douche bags in movies set in other countries? It would have also been nice to see a weird, side romance or some form of sexual tension between Dennis and Mr. Ghoshdashtidar’s daughter, Maya (India de Beaufort). She’s tossed into a bunch of scenes and there could have been a lot of laughs had due to their incompatibilities — working for or against them.
Unfortunately, Run, Fatboy, Run misses a lot of opportunities to be funny. It’s worth a watch only if you’re severally depressed or if you subscribe to the notion that marathon running can successfully be used as a major plot element in a movie. If you’re not afflicted with either of those two conditions, you’d best spend 90+ minutes of your time doing something else.