From Simon Pegg, a key collaborator on Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and Michael Ian Black of Wet Hot American Summer and TV’s The State comes Run, Fatboy, Run. Oh, and David Schwimmer of TV’s Friends directs. A movie with such a comedic pedigree ought to be a laugh riot, but Run, Fatboy, Run opts instead to be a heart-tugger with some mildly funny comedic interludes.

The thin premise is exploited about as well as it could be. Dennis (Pegg), a loser deadbeat father who left the mother of his son (Thandie Newton) pregnant at the alter five years ago, gets jealous when she takes up with a new beau (Hank Azaria) who runs marathons. Dennis thinks he can win her back if he runs a marathon himself. Even the movie acknowledges the illogic of this. Pegg, Black & Schwimmer do their best to get the audience behind it by making all the people who care about Dennis get invested in his running the marathon. Harish Patel, as his kindly landlord, wants to see his tenant get some self respect and Dylan Moran as his friend Gordon, a compulsive gambler, has bet all the money he doesn’t have on Dennis. Oh, and there’s a cute kid (Matthew Fenton).

Going in, I’ll admit I had very low expectations, which the movie handsomely exceeded. Run, Fatboy, Run is formulaic and sit-commish at times, but it has its heart in the right place. For fans of Pegg, it’s a definite renter despite being a diminished return from Shaun and Fuzz.

I can’t end this review without talking about the version of Fatboy that would’ve been ten times funnier and ten times more heartfelt. Continue reading about Run, Fatboy, Run (major spoilers)…Instead of having Dennis do endless pratfalls and act like a daft twat, how about making him and every other character behave like a real person? Imagine the real humor to be had from an actual overweight chain smoker attempting to run a marathon. Of course, in reality his rival in love wouldn’t be such an obvious jerk, he wouldn’t get the girl and he wouldn’t finish the marathon. And the audience wouldn’t feel condescended to.