Simon Pegg would be a national treasure, if he wasn’t English. No matter, we’ll adopt him, or at least the legions of film geeks who adore his work (in the British show Spaced and the Brit flicks Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) will call him one of our own. Because, as this Sunday New York Times feature details, he is one of the geeks. It’s that brand of accessibility that he injects into his latest release, Run, Fat Boy, Run, which opens in America on Friday. This underdog comedy screened to uproarious approval at SXSW 2008, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a great date movie. To most mainstream American audiences, though, this film will be the first introduction to Pegg. Get used to him, however, since he has several projects nearing completion. An excerpt from Melena Ryzik’s profile:
Now Mr. Pegg, 38, is moving into celebrity-treatment territory. His forthcoming roles include the lead, with Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges, in “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,” based on Toby Young’s memoir of working at Vanity Fair, and a turn as Scotty in J. J. Abrams’s new “Star Trek” movie, due out next year.
O.K., so he hasn’t left geekdom totally behind. But no matter. It’s the Judd Apatow era of the nerd hero: “ordinary blokes doing extraordinary things,” as Mr. Pegg says. In “Run, Fat Boy, Run” he plays Dennis, an underemployed scruffy charmer who runs from his pregnant fiancée (Thandie Newton) at the altar. She has the baby, and the story picks up again several years later, when she is dating the perfect man (Hank Azaria as a rich, ripped marathon runner). To win back her affection and the respect of his son, Mr. Pegg’s character decides to compete against the boyfriend in a race. Cue the hilarious training sequence. The first feature directed by David Schwimmer, it is a triple threat of feel-good genres: first-date movie, broad physical comedy and underdog sports flick.