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Film / Run Fatboy Run

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"I'm not fat! I'm just... unfit..."

Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) is a clueless, chronically indecisive and slightly overweight Manchild who left his pregnant fiancée Libby (Thandiwe Newton) at the altar five years earlier. He constantly tries to persuade the woman he loves to accept him back into her life, but when he discovers that Libby has found a new partner in the form of American Whit (Hank Azaria), frustration grows, and Dennis vows that for once in his life, he will finish something. This something ends up being the Nike River Run in London. With his friend Gordon (Dylan Moran) and landlord Mr. Goshdashtidar by his side, Dennis begins training for the marathon he must finish to win the respect of both Libby, and himself.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Whit; "Peter Perfect" as Dennis calls him.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Dennis Doyle from downstairs".
  • Alliterative Name: Dennis Doyle.
  • Always Someone Better: Dennis feels this way about Whit for much of the film.
  • Amusing Injuries: Gordon stabbing Dennis in the foot with a nail to try and pop a blister, Dennis falling down a staircase into a woman on an exercise ball, and any time Dennis gets hit with a spatula. Averted when Whit breaks Dennis's ankle.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Dennis tells Jake after Jake runs away that he can’t run away from his problems because it doesn’t solve anything and you have to stick at them. Jake asks him, “Is that what you do, Dad?” Dennis has no response, because he himself has made that mistake.
  • Artistic License – Sports: In large televised marathons amateur and professional runners start from different points and the elite runners who are likely to be in with a chance to win start from their own area so Dennis and Whit wouldn't have been on camera to steal the thunder from the elite athletes with their sprinting away from the start and jockeying for position.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: After explicitly pointing out that Dennis is running on a broken ankle, the reporter then asks:
    Reporter: Sir! Sir! How do you feel?
    Dennis: (in tears, barely cognizant) How the fuck do you think I feel?!
  • Blackmail: When Dennis refuses Maya's ultimatum to kick him out if he quits the race and pay his back rent if he doesn't, she whips away his Modesty Towel and takes a polaroid of his naked body. "Deal?" "...Deal."
  • Camera Abuse: Dennis "hits the wall" and bounces off the camera.
  • Creator Cameo: Director David Schwimmer can be seen giving a glass of beer to Dennis during the race.
  • Cranky Landlord: Played with; Mr. G is a cheerful, forgiving type, but his daughter Maya takes it upon herself to chase Dennis up for the rent.
  • Champions on the Inside: Dennis comes in absolute dead last in the marathon, finishing HOURS after everyone else. But he did it on a broken ankle, he did it to prove he could FINISH something, and he did it despite not physically being able to do it. And he still beat Whit, who didn't finish at all.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Whit trips Dennis up, only to be sent to hospital himself while Dennis limps on, and later to get caught out by an action replay.
  • Consequence Combo: There are a lot of carrots and sticks in play, but the clearest example of the trope is Maya's ultimatum - if Dennis finishes the race, she'll call off his back rent. If he doesn't, she'll kick him out.
  • Crossdresser: Who enjoys terrorizing Dennis the security guard, and is later shown running the marathon.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Whit, who starts off The Ace and gets gradually more Control Freaky and competitive in direct contrast to Dennis getting more responsible and mature.
  • The Ditherer: Dennis's central character flaw is his indecisiveness, which causes him to fail to truly commit to anything he tries and constantly try to find a way out of it. Completing the marathon is essentially his way of overcoming this flaw.
  • Down to the Last Play: Hugely averted. Whit is taken out of the race very early, and Dennis severely injured, and the rest of the marathon is spent limping in last place, determined to finish. All of which makes Jake's "Dad, you won!" utterly heartwarming.
  • Evil Brit: Whit inverts the trope, as he is an evil American in a British setting as opposed to vice versa.
  • The Ex's New Jerkass: Libby's new fiancée Whit is everything Dennis Doyle is not, from a better runner to having more control over his life to having bigger genitalia (a thing Dennis discovered with much embarrassment). Unfortunately for Whit, he destroys his opportunity to marry Libby when he reveals himself to be a big Control Freak, culminating with him yelling at Libby's son and calling him a "little shit" when he annoys him in the film's final act. Libby is visibly perturbed by this, and subsequently ditches Whit when it's ultimately revealed he ''deliberately'' tripped Dennis during the marathon, breaking his ankle.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: At the end, after watching Dennis's big moment of triumph, Whit is driven to such a rage that he tries to yank the television away to smash it to pieces. Unfortunately for him, it's screwed on pretty tightly to the wall, meaning that after a few moments of pathetic struggling and fuming he's reduced to just simply switching it off with the button.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: A low-rent London Gangster who appears to run a betting syndicate and fence stolen goods, who nearly breaks Gordon's hand in a piano lid, and who when his bet is threatened hijacks a taxi, drives to the race and... runs alongside Dennis taunting him and ineffectually trying to trip him up. Lampshaded after Mr. G rescues Gordon from the piano incident;
    Mr. G.: Your friend is man of honour. He promised to beat shit out of you later!
  • First Father Wins
  • Flat "What": Libby after Dennis tells her in the bakery he will do the marathon.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At various points in the film, you can see graffiti depicting Dennis's state at that moment. One is of a man clenching his fists and striking a pose on a wall, seen behind Dennis during the Training Montage as he runs in and out of bollards. Another obvious one is after Dennis and Gordon fight. Dennis runs around the corner and clearly visible on the wall behind him is of a man hanging from a tree, because at that point, he's at his lowest ebb in the film.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: When Libby leaves Whit for good, Jake calls Whit a shithead.
  • Graceful Loser: Even the Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters who bet against Dennis are cheering him on when he crosses the finish line.
  • Groin Attack: Several during the fight between Dennis and Gordon.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?:
  • Heart Is Where the Home Is: Both the underdog and the girl he loves are British while the opponent is a jerky American. The movie was going to be set in Chicago so presumably it would have had this plot follow the more American underdog mold, but then Simon Pegg bought the script.
  • Heroic BSoD: Dennis has one after Libby agrees to marry Whit. He's so depressed he drops out of the race, has a Wimp Fight with Gordon and it takes a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Mr. G. and Jake running away to get him to pull himself out of it.
  • I Gave My Word: Somewhat justified despite the Honor Before Reason, since his ability to keep a promise is what Dennis is ''really' trying to prove.
  • Implacable Man/The Determinator: Dennis, running limping the best part of a marathon on a sprained, implied to be broken ankle because he promised he would, dammit!
  • Inconvenient Itch: When he first starts working out, Dennis gets a nasty, itchy rash on his crotch that he absolutely has to scratch... as he is at work as a security guard in a lingerie shop. One can guess what this looks like.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In Libby's bakery;
    Libby: You can't even finish your sentence!
    Dennis: Oh... don't... don't... don't be... what's the word?
  • Ironic Echo: "No, but you can watch me do it."
  • Jerk Jock: Whit.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gordon. He steals from people and bets everything on Dennis. However, he cares about him, Libby and Jake. Just look at the scene where Jake has run away and Dennis tells Gordon about this.
  • Kent Brockman News: The overexcitable reporter. "He deliberately tripped him! Bastard! Sorry, got carried away again..."
    • "And, what's that? [overjoyed] He's got a son! I didn't know he had a son! Did you know he had a son!?"
    • "Yes! Yes! Keep going you beautiful man!"
  • Kick the Dog: When Jake won't stop messing around with Whit's hospital bed, Whit loses it and shouts at him, "Goddamn it! Will you stop messing around with the bed, you little shit?!" He does this in front of Libby, and she's not happy about it.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Dennis and Whit are running in an annual marathon in London on a Sunday, with space for a number of charity runners to enter after the general closing date, that is most definitely not the London Marathon.
  • Manchild: Dennis's whole problem.
  • Modesty Towel: Played with twice. Whit drops his in the changing room, giving Dennis an eyeful, and Maya whips Dennis' away after he gets out of the shower in order to take a blackmail photo.
  • Never My Fault: Dennis blames his problems that he caused on other people.
  • Newscaster Cameo: BBC Breakfast presenter Chris Hollins As Himself, commentating on the race with Denise Lewis.
  • Noodle Incident: Gordon's one serious relationship somehow ended with "a broken collarbone and a dead meerkat." There's also the question of what exactly was the most disgusting fluid he's ever had in his eye, and the circumstances in which it came to be there.
  • Only One Name: Subverted with Whit. The doctor in the hospital who treats his leg reveals Whit's surname is Bloom.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: "That's the second most disgusting fluid I've ever had in my eye!"
  • Pants-Free: When Gordon invites Dennis into his apartment, he's leaning over the balcony. At the end of the conversation we see him shot from behind, revealing that he's naked from the waist down. At the end of the movie, he invites two beautiful girls onto his boat... again, no pants.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Averted at first, Jake is pretty impressed with Whit, which to Dennis just makes him even more depressingly superior. However, they're never as close as he is with his dad, and when Jake really starts going off Whit you know the guy's doomed...
  • Precision F-Strike: Jake on Whit: "What a shithead..."
    • A hilarious one the second time Dennis realises he's locked himself out of his flat: "FUCK!"
  • Product Placement: For Nike, shamelessly. The "Nike River Run" is sponsored by Nike, there are Nike banners every 20 feet of the race, and the commentators and journalists keep saying "Nike." Nike.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: The locker room scene. See Enforced Method Acting.
  • Raw Eggs Make You Stronger: As part of his Training Montage, Dennis attempts to drink about six raw eggs at once, but immediately spits them back up.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Dennis and Gordon, when Dennis wakes up with an hour to get to the starting line.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Whit takes that relationship-as-marathon metaphor and drags it right out of the subtext to slap it in Dennis' stunned face.
    • The always cheerful and kind Mr. G is devastated when Dennis drops out of the race, and delivers a seriously good one - basically in tears - to get Dennis to pull himself together.
  • The Runaway: Dennis is snapped out of his Heroic BSoD when a panicking Libby tells him Jake has run away. When Dennis finds him, Jake tells him he did it because he was upset that the girl he liked likes another boy more because he has a ponytail.
  • Runaway Bride: Dennis is a runaway groom.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dennis refers to Whit as "Peter Perfect".
    • The reporter refers to The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Runner, a short story by Alan Sillitoe.
    • Dennis attempting to drink raw eggs during the Training Montage, as well as the camera angle during that scene, is a reference to Rocky.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: The spaghetti bolognese, becomes a plot point later on.
  • Title Drop: By the crossdresser, and later by Whit as he pulls away in the race.
  • Training Montage: Parodied and played straight side-by-side.
  • Turned Off By The Jerkass: Dennis' ex-girlfriend is quite okay with her new boyfriend Wint, who is The Ace (at least comparatively to Dennis) and Dennis can see that he is a jerk but cannot convince her of it, but she ditches him the very second he is irritated about her son changing channels on the TV of the hospital room he is staying at after a minor accident on a marathon and yells at the kid "choose one channel and stick to it, you little shit!"
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Maya.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Libby is way out of Dennis' league, Hollywood Pudgy or not.
  • The Unpronounceable: Mr Gostust... Goshdash... Mr G. For the record: Goshdashtidar.
  • Villains Out Shopping: At one point while Dennis is training for the marathon, he sees Whit doing the same, and jumps into a bush so Whit doesn't see him.
  • Visual Pun: Whit and Dennis edge their way past a pair of runners dressed as a tortoise and a hare.
  • Wimp Fight: A stellar example.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: The guys are in the middle of a Not What It Looks Like moment in a taxi when it stops in front of an attractive woman, who seems to like what she sees.
  • You Are Fat: The Title Drop, courtesy of the transsexual kleptomaniac. Dennis is really a fairly scrawny guy with a beer gut, but that doesn't stop him being self-conscious about it.


Video Example(s):


...see my point, can't ya?

Dennis realizes he has a huge obstacle to overcome if he's going to win back his ex from her new beau.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PleasePutSomeClothesOn

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