(In theaters, May 2008) The problem with “likable loser” movies is the balance to find between the likability and the loserness. Simon Pegg is gifted enough to put the audience on his side as the titular Fatboy, but the script doesn’t give him much to play on: Throughout Run Fatboy Run, saner members of the audience will wonder how and why his ex-girlfriend (Thandie Newton, who has seldom looked better) almost married him. And that’s before the screenwriter cheats and actively sabotages her relationship with her new beau. To be fair, however, the entire third act of Run Fatboy Run is a huge unbelievable cheat, destroying a character at the benefit of another, and pulling the type of Hollywood finish that doesn’t do much more than remind us that things never happen like that in real life. As with so many romantic comedies, the fun of the film isn’t in the main story as in the secondary characters, the subplots and the details. Alas, some of the material is so interesting as to overwhelm the rest: I was captivated by India de Beaufort’s presence, and wished more of the film would have been centered around her, or Dylan Moran’s more-interesting sidekick. While Run Fatboy Run itself isn’t particularly bad or irritating, it’s curiously uninvolving and never earns its conclusion as much as it tries to manipulate it more blatantly than most.
(On DVD, May 2009) There isn’t much to say about the DVD edition of the film: It’s still an average comedy, and the DVD commentary doesn’t do much to give us insight in the film-making process. On the other hand, India de Beaufort is featured in a number of deleted scenes, so it’s not as if revisiting the film on DVD was a complete waste of time.