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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

 

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Run Fatboy Run [Blu-ray]

 

(David Schwimmer, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Material Entertainment & Picturehouse

Blu-ray: New Line Home Entertainment (Warner)

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 100 min

Chapters: 16

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 23, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Audio:

English 7.1 DTS HD-Master Audio

 

Subtitles:

Feature: English & Spanish, Extras: English & Spanish (on selected material)

 

Extras:

• Digital Copy Disc

• Commentary by Director David Schwimmer, Actors Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, and Gill Pegg's (Simon's mom)

• Deleted Scenes in HD (6:47)

• Outtakes in HD (7:20)

• Thandie's Goof (2:54)

• Theatrical Trailer in HD

 

 

 

The Film: 6
Yes, this is THE Queensian David Schwimmer of Friends fame, making his feature film directorial debut with a British comedy and mostly British actors, filmed in and around London. So, should we be surprised that this comedy, written by Chicagoan Michael Ian Black with an assist from Simon Pegg, feels more American than British, despite its very engagingly British lead actor, Simon
Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).

Matt Zoller Seitz of the NY Times is quoted on the video cover: "Rocky by way of There's Something About Mary". I see the connection, but Run Fatboy Run isn't nearly as raunchy or edgy as TSAB. Quite the contrary, Run Fatboy Run strikes me as a family film, which Mary isn't - more along the lines of About a Boy, though not nearly as polished or astute. The Rocky allusion is apt - even if Schwimmer & Black think it as a kind of Rocky arc, with its big challenge, its scrappy training for the big event, the eggs in the blender bit, and a heroic effort in its last reel.

Pegg plays Dennis Doyle who left his lovely fiancÚ (Thandie Newton) at the altar, very pregnant. Cut to the present, five years later. Dennis, while not fat, is certainly lazy and irresponsible, though good natured enough. As with his promise to get married, he tends not to complete projects he's signed on for. He even shows up late to pick up his son, Jake (a disarming Matthew Fenton), whom he evidently loves, or without tickets for the show he's promised to take him to. Dennis has a low level job as a security guard in a lingerie shop (are there such jobs!) and is always way behind in his rent to Mr. Goshdashtidar (Harish Patel), whose name I sit eagerly waiting to hear pronounced each time we see him. But once Dennis meets Whit (a very buff Hank Azaria), Libby's latest and most likely to succeed boyfriend, Dennis is sent into a tailspin of jealousy – not that he has any claim on her affections. . . except that clearly Libby still has a place in her heart for this self-styled loser, as many a woman whose son they share, do.

Dennis sees his chance by entering the Nike River-Run Marathon to demonstrate his willingness to commit to something. Anything. Even the impossible. This is where the movie takes off, just as it also becomes less creditable: it isn't really possible to get into shape to run a marathon from couch-potato-hood in only three weeks (though the script employs a clever workaround this difficulty). But it's the character of Whit, whose "true" nature shows itself as Dennis starts to make his presence known, that becomes increasingly vile. I always find that making it too easy for the hero is never a good sign.

BTW, I can't resist a smile at the notes on the back cover. You know how an actor's name is often followed by one or two movie credits - to help place them in our minds, I would assume. Just as often, however, the movies mentioned aren't necessarily the actor's best work, so much as a title that the studio wants to promote. Next to Hank Azaria's name, the cover lists one invisible credit: The Simpsons, which is Fox, not Warner. Go figure.

 


 

Image: 6/8
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Given the level of contrasty, oversaturated oranges and yellows for this movie, its not very sharp picture, near crushing blacks, and otherwise relatively undistinguished image, we might first wonder: why Blu-ray? Until we realize that if the Blu-ray looks like this, what must the DVD look like? Alas, I can't say for certain, having no sample to compare. But, seeing as how the both the BRD and the DVD are being released simultaneously, it is likely that there are drawn from the same master, which means that the DVD is likely to be, by comparison, insufferable. Bit rates average in the low 30s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 7/7
Given the nature of this movie, what we expect and require is a clear, well positioned dialogue track and supportive music that never overwhelms, and occasional ambiance that never misdirects. These, it has.

 

 

 

Operations: 7
The menu layout for Deception is, considering the title, surprisingly uncomplicated, which I found something of a relief. The chapter thumbnails do not expand, they are, however, titled. The special features are not timed.

 

Extras: 5
The commentary should be considered as a sort of laugh track for the movie, as Simon, Thandie and David reminisce about the making of the movie, with an occasional aside from Simon's mom. Most unusually for HD videos, the deleted scenes are shown in high quality HD. The bit titled "Thandie's Goof" (in squarish 480i) isn't a goof at all, but a practical joke. Apparently, the tidy Ms. Newton has quite the sense of humor. The packaging includes a Digital Copy disc to round off the Extras.

 

 

Bottom line: 6
Run Fatboy Run is a pleasant enough, if uninventive comedy. What's missing is the romance. There's more between Dennis and his son than between Libby and anyone else, through no fault of hers. I had a good time, but I don't imagine the movie has much repeatability factor.

Leonard Norwitz
September 20th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 





 

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