When I spoke to David Schwimmer on March 5, 2008, his directorial debut was the reason for the interview, but it was his working relationship with radio legend Studs Terkel that I wanted to start with. Schwimmer’s reminiscence about the man, and the effect he had on his theater career that shed a whole new light on a guy best known for his work on a sit-com. The result is someone who is thoughtful about the human condition, serious about the process of filmmaking, and playful about the day-to-day process of rolling with the punches of a mid-budget film. The film stars Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Dylan Moran, and Hank Azaria. Schwimmer directed from a script by Pegg and Michael Ian Black.
Dennis Doyle (Pegg), the oddball hero of the sweet-and sour-romantic comedy, RUN FATBOY RUN is a man who has lived for five years with the fallout of one bad, impulsive decision. That would be running out, literally, on his fiancée, Libby (Thandie Newton). His >pregnant< fiancée, Libby, and doing it as the guests were assembled for the wedding. Five years on, he’s a great if immature dad, connecting with son Jake on the latter’s level rather too well. Libby tolerates him in a civil fashion while getting on with her life running a successful bakery, Libby’s Nice Buns. Dennis isn’t so much getting on with his own life as he is muddling along, living in a one-room basement apartment, working security at an upscale London lingerie shop, and wondering aloud to best pal and Libby’s cousin, Gordon (Dylan Moran), why she’s still holding a grudge after all this time. Women, opines Gordon, tend to remember things like a wedding day that wasn’t.
RUN FATBOY RUN works as a comedy, but one that is as emotionally invigorating as a 10K run is physically. True to its characters while never losing its sense of fun, it warms the cockles of the heart while giving the funny bone a spirited workout.