"Run Fatboy Run" DVD Review
October 08, 2008 by Zach Demeter
In recent years (well just this past year actually) I’ve become a big fan of Simon Pegg’s work and when I saw a new comedy with him in it, I opted to give it a chance. With its release in the U.K. on DVD and Blu-ray taking place back in February of this year, I got a chance to see the film before it even released in U.S. theaters and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Not only was it surprisingly funny, but the story, while cookie cutter in nature was pulled off in a way that made it still feel unique in its own way. Now with the film available in the U.S. on DVD and Blu-ray, hopefully audiences in the States will be able to watch and enjoy the antics of Simon Pegg as directed by David Schwimmer.
After leaving his pregnant fiancé at the altar, Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) begins realize what a huge mistake he made. While still active in his sons life, Dennis only begins to make an effort to reunite with the love of his life when she’s moved on to someone else. Determined to prove that he has changed for the better and that he truly wants to be the father and boyfriend she desires, Dennis decides that he will run a brutal marathon to show his determination to win back the woman he loves. Run Fatboy Run stars Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, and Dylan Moran.
Perhaps in an effort to strike a happy medium between the two countries, writers Simon Pegg and Michael Ian Black infused the story with the usual romantic comedy angle all the while heaping in several loads of British comedy. I was surprised by just how funny and genuinely moving the film was, even if it played into several stereotypes and clichés that run rampant in the romantic comedy genre. Schwimmer behind the camera was an interesting choice as well and he brings a great look to the film in terms of lightning and color adjustments. Sure that may sound to credit him on, but visually the film just doesn’t look like other films, so I felt it worth noting.
The story itself is a bit on the hum drum side and it’s really the characters in the film that make it worth watching. By the inevitable ending that you saw coming a mile away, Run Fatboy Run had created such a great little universe of characters that the transparency of the story didn’t matter. Pegg’s role as the carefree father who learns to take on more responsibility is of course the star of the show, but it’s the supporting cast that really molds his character. Moran in particular is key in this area, as even as much of a slack off as he is when compared to Pegg, he’s the one that ends up motivating him to both start and to finish the race.
There’s a lot of fun to be had from the film, whether it be the sight gags that are littered throughout or the various funny quips and sarcasm that Pegg’s known for giving in his roles, Run Fatboy Run may put off some audiences just because it’s such a culture clash. I’ve no other way to describe it as anything other than a generic US romantic comedy smashed together with English culture, complete with the dialect and social quirks. I’m sure many won’t know how to feel about the film at first but I’ve become quite at home in the films from both countries, so it seemed like a solid fit for me.
Having seen the UK edition before the US one, I was expecting some dialogue to be there that ended up being removed. Repeated use of f-bombs was chopped out, as well as a change of Simon being called something in Libby’s (Newton) bakery. Other changes aren’t major, but there were a few instances where the sudden expletive made the scene all that much funnier. I guess it was all to get the film a PG-13 rating, but I’m not sure that was even completely necessary given its mediocre domestic intake.
Overall this is definitely a film I Recommend as it manages to be both humorous and syrupy romantic at the same time. It won’t appeal to all, but if you’re unsure about if this film will fit into your category of entertaining, then at least give it a rental. Either way this film has found a home on my shelf.
For some reason those in charge of cover art at Warner decided it’d be funny to ruin one of the jokes in the film by plastering it on the front cover, but, whatever. The rest of the set is rather unextraordinary, with no inserts inside and a single disc (which contains both widescreen and full screen formats). Menus are simple and easy to navigate and happily enough there is a decent amount of extras to sort though. Schwimmer’s visuals translate well over the DVD as well, with well defined characters and scenery throughout the film. Some of the colors in the film actually stand out a bit too much; especially characters skin tones in some places, but all in all not a bad transfer. The audio that accompanies it, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, is also quite enjoyable, with the dialogue clean and clear throughout and the lively soundtrack (including The Fratellis “Chelsea Dagger”, now one of my favorite bands thanks to this movie) sounds great coming out of the speakers. An English 2.0 track is included as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
The first extra we get is a commentary with Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, David Schwimmer, and Pegg's mother (Gill). The track is especially jovial, with Pegg and Newton constantly poking at each other with jokes, all the while Schwimmer seems to take a curious back seat and only interjects when he has a directorial comment to add. In any case, the track is enlightening and a lot of fun to listen to, especially if you enjoyed the film.
In the standard extras area we have a selection of deleted scenes (7:19) that come with commentary by Schwimmer. As with most deleted scenes they were removed for a reason, but there were some small subplots that were completely abandoned here and all of the sequences are pretty funny in their own right. Next is a standard "Outtakes" (6:47) reel that maintains its funny throughout, although I do wish these would at least run ten minutes as outtakes remain one of my absolute favorite extras on DVDs of all time. The final extra is "Goof" (2:54), where we get to see Thandie Newton play a prank on Simon Pegg; a short but funny piece. A pair of trailers wraps up the disc.
Overall this is a solid release, especially considering its domestic intake. It almost seems as if they should have just released it straight to video here, but I suppose they were testing the viability of Simon Pegg in the States (although Hot Fuzz this is not). Still, this release comes Recommended as the extras given here are really worth watching, however short they are. The commentary clinches it as a fair title to own, as it gives enough behind the scenes information into the production that the lack of a making-of isn’t felt.
Run Fatboy Run is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.