Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run (2008)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria, Dylan Moran, Harish Patel
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Trailer

Since the incredible "Shaun Of The Dead, " Simon Pegg has become a warrant for laughs, an icon for dry British humor, but with much less talk than, say, Ricky Gervais. When I got my hands on his latest film "Run Fatboy Run" that is now available on Blu-Ray Disc from New Line Home Entertainment, the release quickly made it to the front of my queue.

Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) is a lovable loser. On his wedding day he got cold feet and left his pregnant fiancee (Thandie Newton) standing at the altar and has been on a downhill slide ever since. Not a day passes when he regrets his action and wishes he could undo it. Five years later he still tries to win back Libby's heart in vain, and things get even more worrisome when she has a successful boyfriend around. Whit (Hank Azaria) is a successful slick American sweeping Libby off her feet. The only way for Dennis to win back the love of his life is by besting Whit – or so he thinks. Completely out of shape he decides to compete in the London Marathon and beat the stuck up Yankee or die trying. And so begins his journey to get in shape and become a better man.

Friends-star David Schwimmer made "Run Fatboy Run" his directorial debut and a good choice it was. Together with Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script also, he has put together a wonderful comedy that has not only legs but also a lot of heart. I found myself laughing out loud many times during this quirky film that has British humor sprinkled all over it and I found myself moved by Dennis attempts to turn his life around. Having Azaria around doesn't hurt either, especially once Whit's nasty tendencies rear their ugly face.

Over the top at times and silly, "Run Fatboy Run" is never shallow or superficial in the way many of today's comedies are. The film has a purpose and the lovable main characters go a long way to pull you into the story. If this film is any indication for Schwimmer's ability to cross over from in front of the camera to behind, I am expecting many great movies of his in the future. We know he can be funny in his won right and with this movie he proves that he does have a sensibility to make things work on the screen even if he's not in the shot. No director could ask for a better debut.

New Line has created a 1080p transfer for this film in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. As expected, the transfer is absolutely free of blemishes or defects and looks wonderfully clear and clean. Reproducing the natural look of the movie the transfer is offering up great detail and visual depth. Colors are balanced and rich, never oversaturated but enough to give the hues the right amount of pop. black levels and shadows are solid and create a well rounded image with good contrast.

The audio on the release is surprisingly lean for New Line's standards, offering up only a 7.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Traditionally New Line Home Entertainment has had a track record of excellence that was paralleled by few studios only, but in recent months – should I imply it has to do with New Line's integration into Warner home Video? – things have noticeably cooled down with offerings that don't go much beyond the must-have features. The audio track, of course, is wonderfully clear with its high bitrate, and does not show any real problems or weaknesses, but purists among viewers will certainly take notice of the lack of a lossless audio presentation.

The Blu-Ray Disc contains a commentary track featuring a wonderful assortment of speakers, namely director David Schwimmer, Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton and – get this – Simon Pegg's mom, Gill. Fortunately for all involved, New Line stayed true to its standards here and delivers a commentary track that is entertaining and informative and goes way beyond your typical shoulder-padding. The track feels fresh and engaging and is a great embellishment to the release as a whole.

Also included are deleted scenes and outtakes, all presented in high definition, as well as the movie's theatrical trailer, also in high definition.

New Line Home Entertainment delivers a solid, though unspectacular, version of "Run Fatboy Run" on this Blu-Ray disc. If you are like me someone who judges releases mostly by the feature presentation itself and not their abundance of bonus materials, this release is definitely worth a closer look. David Schwimmer and Simon Pegg make a great team and I am hopeful to see more of the two in the future.