Simon Pegg sheds blood, sweat, tears and a bit of pus in Run, Fat Boy, Run, chasing the love he left behind five years previously. It's a romantic comedy told from the male perspective, but Pegg, who also co-wrote the script, isn't afraid to reveal a soft, squidgy centre - and we don't just mean the beer gut. Plenty of dry, British humour serves as a counterbalance and makes for a surprising big-screen directorial debut by former 'Friend' (and Pegg's pal) David Schwimmer.
When we meet Dennis he's scrambling for the exit, leaving pregnant bride Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar. Five years on he's a flabby security guard struggling to chase down a thieving drag queen in ten-inch heels and playing part-time dad to his son Jake (Matthew Fenton). It's only when Libby gets serious about puffed-up high-flyer Whit (Hank Azaria) that Dennis finally makes a commitment: He signs up for a charity marathon to show Libby his worth.
"PEGG TRADES ON HIS 'EVERYLAD' APPEAL"
Pegg trades on his 'Everylad' appeal, successfully blending physical comedy with deadpan wit. He even manages to be endearing whilst frantically humping a semi-clad mannequin (to soothe a bad case of prickly heat). Schwimmer makes a few gratuitous diversions though, like a scene where Dennis' boorish buddy (Dylan Moran playing the Irish stereotype) treats a giant blister on his foot. Thankfully the film isn't just a series of crude innuendos and gross-out gags. Schwimmer often resists an easy laugh in favour of a poignant moment and thereby heightens the sense of urgency during Dennis' last dash for glory. He does stop short of cloying sentimentality and, while the route to the finish line is wrought with predictable twists, it's also a great endorphin rush.
Run, Fat Boy, Run is out in the UK on 7th September 2007.