Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. United Kingdom, 2007. Beech Hill Films, Entertainment Films, Material Entertainment. Story by Michael Ian Black, Screenplay by Michael Ian Black, Simon Pegg. Cinematography by Richard Greatrex. Produced by Sarah Curtis, Robert Jones. Music by Alex Wurman. Production Design by Sophie Becher. Costume Design by Annie Hardinge. Film Editing by Michael Parker. Toronto International Film Festival 2007.
N’er-do-weller Simon Pegg left his pregnant fiancee (Thandie Newton) at the altar and five years later is not doing so well. Working a dead-end job and behind on the rent, he compounds his situation by being a loving but irresponsible dad to his now 5 year-old son. He’s motivated into action when Newton begins dating a wealthy American businessman (Hank Azaria) whose hobby is running and who is planning to take part in the charity marathon held in London every year. Pegg gets the idea that participating in the marathon will put him on par with the rival who is zeroing in on the woman he loves (and regrets abandoning) so he enlists, hampered only by the fact that he is overweight, smokes heavily, and has never exercised a day in his life. It’s one thing when comedies, particularly ones with a romantic element to them, tread on familiar territory, but director David Schwimmer shamefully underuses Pegg’s comedic talents and sticks too close to reliable material (it’s hard not to roll your eyes by the time the new boyfriend yells inappropriately at the little kid). Still, it’s fun, if not raucously funny, and features a snappy supporting performance by Dylan Moran as Pegg’s friend (and now trainer).