Fatboy Dennis is running frantically from the best thing that ever happened to him. This is how it all begins. The Fatboy is played by funny man Simon Pegg and he is running away from the altar, leaving behind his pregnant fiancé Libby, played by Thandie Newton. Dennis is never one to commit. Never one to finish what he started.
Over the holiday I rewatched “Run Fatboy Run,” the romantic comedy that introduced David Schwimmer as a big screen director. In the movie, Dennis, who appears to be a loser on the surface, regrets leaving his fiancé Libby only after she falls for handsome, successful, and seemingly “perfect” Whit, played by Hank Azaria. The intense race between Dennis and Whit for Libby continues throughout the movie and ultimately forces Dennis to commit to a grueling marathon to prove to Libby that he can for once commit to completing something meaningful in life. There is no end to the laughs as Dennis jumps through various hoops to prepare for the big run.
Just as telling a good joke is as much about execution as it is about the punch line, so is it for a comedy. Schwimmer does a good job on the delivery. In addition to bringing together a cast of characters with bubbling chemistry, Schwimmer also sprinkles the movie with interesting details. For example, at the start of the Marathon, there is a tortoise and hare, comically and metaphorically mirroring Dennis and Whit. I also loved the settings, perhaps best exemplified by Libby’s beautifully designed and vibrantly colored bakery, brought to life by well placed, jarringly humorous dialogue. To Schwimmer’s credit, the narrow, quaint streets were real enough to make me homesick.
I was impressed by Thandie’s range as an actress, extending perfectly to comedy: the funny facial expressions, the right tones of emotion, inflected in the right way and at the right moments, and the genuine friendship with Dennis underlying their true love. We even see some of the essence of Thandie as a mother to Jake, played by Matthew Fenton. What I remember most is Libby putting her arms around Jake and gently placing a kiss on his head as they watched Dennis run on TV.
Run, Fatboy Run is a great feel good, feel angry, feel sad, feel funny movie, with ups and downs, twist and turns (literally), and so much more. Don’t miss out!
- Thandie’s curly hair is a wig. David Schwimmer had wanted Thandie’s character to have curly hair after seeing and falling in love with an old picture of Thandie with her natural curls.
- The first scene Thandie filmed was the scene in her bakery. I hear she took lots of those delicious looking cupcakes to her daughters
- One of Thandie’s favorite scenes in the movie is where Dennis and his son are sitting on a tree branch and playing tricks on passersby
- Hank Azaria really was naked in the gym locker room scene with Simon
- A reflection of the TV crew can be seen in the scene where Dennis checks himself out in the mirror. The scene was played so perfectly that David Schwimmer decided to leave it in.
- David Schwimmer crowned Thandie “queen of practical jokes” as she played various practical jokes on the cast. For example, she filled all of Simon’s water bottles with vodka during his press interview.