Saturday, January 28, 2012

Run Fat Boy

So, after watching some real running movies, I decided I wanted to watch a movie that had running in the theme but wasn't really about running at all. Run fat boy run seemed to fit the bill. I have always liked Simon Pegg. You may know him as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. He more recently starred as Scotty in Star Trek. I couldn't imagine a better young Scotty than Simon. Yes, I am a science fiction nerd to add to my other weaknesses! His love interest in the movie is the lovely Thandie Newton. I think she was in one of the Mission Impossible movies. If I lived in the UK, maybe I would know more about her.

This is a simple and totally predictable movie but it's a nice and feel–good with a few laughs when you don't feel like trying too hard. Simon is always fantastic and worth watching in any role. It must be the name! So, here's a spoiler alert. To be honest, you can know the plot and still watch the movie. It's less about the story than it is about how the story plays out.

Dennis (played by Simon) is about to get married. He panics and runs from the wedding. To add insult to injury, Libby, his fiancĂ© is also pregnant. He somehow stays involved with his son and secretly hopes to win back Libby's affections. When Libby gets a new boyfriend (Whit) who is an American trader and marathoner, Dennis jokingly tells Libby that he would run a marathon. Dennis isn't that motivated to run until his friend Gordon (who is also Libby's cousin) makes a bet on him completing the marathon and becomes his coach. Gordon is very motivated because he is fearful of the thugs he made the bet with. Mr. Goshdashtidar (there are many jokes about the pronunciation of that name), Dennis' landlord puts aside his frustrations with Dennis and becomes his assistant coach. Mr. G uses a metal spatular liberally as a motivational tool. When Whit makes it clear that he also wants to win the affection of Dennis' son and not just his ex, Dennis gets really serious about completing the marathon. On race day, Dennis and Whit trash talk each other at the starting line and start speeding up to try to out–do each other. They become oblivious to the marathon, overtake the elite runners and capture Britain's attention with an insane sprint. Whit deliberately trips Dennis causing him to break his ancle. After they both fall hard, Whit pulls out of the race but Dennis decides to finish. It's a turning point for him because he wants to finish something for the first time in his life. When Libby sees Dennis on TV limping the race alone and at night and finds out that Whit tripped him, she rushes to be there for him. British TV follows him all the way and people come back out to the streets to cheer him on. Dennis barely manages to finish after hitting the wall but finally makes it. The movie ends with Dennis successfully asking Libby to go to dinner with him. And they all lived happily...

Here are some of my favorite parts:

Dennis sprinting away from the wedding as Libby and the guests scream after him. The scene then cuts to him dressed like a security guard, running after a transvestite who has stolen underwear from the store he guards. I love Simon Pegg's face in these scenes. He is breathing like his lungs are on fire. It's  how I felt when I started running.

When Dennis goes for his first run, he is wearing tight swimming trunks and a David Bowie t–shirt. Simon Pegg's movements and stretches are great. He runs to the end of the street, looks like he is making a breakthrough and then his face reverts to the same painful look in the earlier picture. I have to admit that Dennis' pot belly reminded me of what I must have looked like when I started running 45lbs ago. 

After running in the trunks, he develops a rash in the "scrotal zone" as he calls it. After his boss tells him that he can not scratch himself in front of the customers, Dennis reverts to using a mannequin's hand. This scene is just plain ridiculous and I laughed, even though I tried not to.

Whit (in green) and Dennis go on their own personal race right from the start of the marathon and break through the elite runners. They don't get far before Whit trips Dennis and they both crash to the ground, taking some elite's with them. I love how the TV announcer gets so passionate about Dennis that he refers to Whit as a bastard when slow motion footage later shows that Whit deliberately tripped him.

Whit tells Dennis about "the wall" but when Dennis finally hits it, he literally hits it. This scene is a dream sequence. Dennis is just plain delirious at this point.

After collapsing and looking like he may not make it, Dennis notices that Libby and his son Jake have come to be with him. He makes an impossible 50 yard dash to the finish line.

The best quote from the movie comes from Gordon, Dennis' best friend. He is just about to give Dennis some advice but wants to let him know that he is no expert on relationships:
"My only relationship ended in a broken collar bone and a dead meerkat"

So, like I said, a simple but cute movie. It's not that great, there's nothing to learn from it and nothing to gain except a couple of smiles and a couple of chuckles. Sometimes that is just enough. Here's the official trailer.

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