Dennis (Simon Pegg) has a problem with committing to anything. So much that he leaves his wife-to-be, Libby (Thandie Newton), on the day of her marriage while she is [obviously] pregnant with their child. Five years pass and Dennis and Libby remain in contact for the sake of the child, Jake (Matthew Fenton). Libby has become involved with a new man, Whit (Hank Azaria), and the relationship seems very serious. In order to win Libby back Dennis decides to show that he is finally ready to commit fully to something by running a marathon alongside Whit, or against him depending on how you see it.
This is David Schwimmer’s directorial debut for the big screen, and it shows that he can do something half right. But then again when you make a Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran (Bernard from Black Books) movie only OKAY, this may not be that much a job well done. I believe that the direction in this movie is nothing stellar, but it is still not atrocious. However, I would love to imagine this movie directed by an Edgar Wright, or a Jason Reitman, then this movie would be awesome without any complaints.
The film is written by Simon Pegg and Michael Ian Black. The story oozes Simon Pegg(who also wrote “Spaced”, “Shawn of the Dead”, and “Hot Fuzz”), and it takes a trite film scenario, “guy number one wants girl, but girl has guy number two, so guy number one competes with guy number two in silly ways till guy number one gets girl”, and then throws in some of Simon Pegg style characters into the mix. Even though the movie does lack the Nick Frost character, it is supplemented by the character Gordon(Dylan Moran), who plays the best friend that pushes Dennis into doing the right thing.
The characters in this movie are pretty cool. Dennis’ landlord, Mr. Ghoshdashtidar(Harish Patel), and Gordon are hilarious characters. Gordon is a bit of a watered down Bernard (from Black Books) without the book shop, or Manny and Fran which isn’t that bad a thing. Even though Bernard in Black Books is an amazingly hilarious character, he would not really fit a role like this, due to all the support that Gordon is required to give to Dennis to make the plot move along. Mr. Ghoshdashtidar plays the quirky landlord who hates his tenant for his lack of backbone to take what he really wants, and do what he must in order to do to get it. However, the moment he decides to do it Mr. Ghoshdashtidar will help him in anyway he can. This adds to the family fluff of the movie.
The story on a whole is something you’ve seen before. Another romantic comedy (except with Simon Pegg in it), with a guy going after the girl of his dreams, who he didn’t know was the girl of his dreams until he had lost her. There are absolutely nothing special about the movie’s story, not even any gimmick that would attract you to this movie anymore than any other romantic comedy like this. So if you’re hoping that the story will be completely new and original then please stop now turn around and either don’t watch the movie or reassess your expectations then return.
The best scene for this movie would have to be the blister and the nail after a training session with Pegg and Moran. This scene isn’t long but it is hilarious and I doubt many guys, or women, will be able to stop themselves from losing years of life from laughter alone. The anticipation of how the simple problem will turn out funny just keeps your attention and then the result and the punch line will keep you laughing and probably quoting for at least a few days, if not weeks.
Overall this movie is a good rent when it hits the local video rental shop, or a nice date film for the young couples when you want to get out over the weekend. So the verdict is:
IMDB says 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 44%
I say 6.5/10