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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Run Fat Boy Run

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
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Posted September 23 2008 - 01:44 PM

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Release Date: September 23, 2008
Studio: New Line Home Video
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1h40m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 / Special features "may be in standard definition"
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (packaging mislabeled as Dolby Digital) / Special features "audio standards may vary"
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish (movie and select bonus material)
MSRP: $35.99

The Feature: 2.5/5
Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) was NOT born to run. But he never ran faster than on his wedding day, when he left pregnant bride, Libby (Thandie Newton), at the altar. In the past five years she's had the decency to let him be father to their child, but that's the limit of her graciousness. Dennis shows neither the maturity nor the confidence to be a proper husband, though he's seen the error of his ways and wants to find his way to that place. Unfortunately she's spoken for now, dating a man who is all things Dennis is not. Besides being wealthy, successful, and handsome, Whit (Hank Azaria) runs marathons for charity. In a desperate bid to change Libby's mind and reclaim his dignity, Dennis enlists in the same upcoming race, with only a debt-ridden gambler friend and his longsuffering landlord as support. But love and respect are powerful motivators and for the first time in his life Dennis plans to stop running from his problems and start running for what's most important to him.

In his feature film directorial debut, David Schwimmer (who played Ross on "Friends") shows a sure technical hand but still holds on to his sitcom roots. The unfit schlub in over his head in an athletic competition is, I'm pretty sure, a situation Ross found himself in at least a couple times. But the premise is not so much the problem as the predictable ways it's played for laughs, broad strokes that seem better suited for the small screen. It's particularly ill-suited for Pegg, whose previous work in "Shaun of the Dead" rarely went for the obvious joke. But maybe that's asking too much for a movie whose title never quite makes sense for its lanky star (who wears an all-too-obvious belly prosthetic). If a little more time had gone into refining its humor, "Run Fat Boy Run" might have been a race-worthy competitor rather than an also-ran.


Video Quality: 3.5/5
Accurately framed at 2.40:1, the VC-1-encoded image is free of physical blemishes and signs of edge enhancement. Minor noise is visible on a couple occasions and fine object detail and overall clarity is a little lacking, but blacks are deep and inky and colors have a nice depth and saturation (though the palette is a bit too warm for my personal taste). Contrast is also inconsistent - sometimes within the same scene blacks go from normal to slightly crushed.


Audio Quality: 4/5
The sole audio option for the release is a 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio track. It's a pleasant surprise of a mix for a comedy film, showing healthy and balanced activity in the entire speaker array. The surround channels mostly support the music soundtrack but there are effective touches with ambient city noises and more aggressive panning effects. LFE is used sparingly but has decent depth and fullness. Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible, even with all the varying accents in play.


Special Features: 3/5

Feature commentary with David Schwimmer, Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, and Gill Pegg (Simon's Mom): Schwimmer takes the lead, providing the most anecdotal background and technical information, with Pegg providing backup. Newton mostly makes observations about the film or confirms what the others say. Pegg's mom seems to just be killing time before she goes sightseeing with her son. It's not the most informative of tracks, but for a "hang out" style commentary it's sufficiently entertaining.

Deleted scenes with optional commentary (7m20s): Fourteen scenes with optional Schwimmer commentary were removed mostly for time and pacing. Fans of India de Beaufort (who played the sexy daughter of the landlord) won't be disappointed. The clips are in high definition with DTS HD Master Audio 7.1, with the audio commentary in stereo.

Outtakes (6m47s): Bloopers and racier alternate takes. The clips are in high definition with DTS HD Master Audio 7.1.

Thandie's Goof (2m54s) Newton plays a practical joke on Pegg as he prepares for an interview.

Trailers: Domestic and international theatrical trailers running 2m22s and 2m37s, respectively. In high definition with DTS 5.1 audio.

Digital Copy: Download a copy of the movies to your computer or portable video device. Unfortunately, the feature is only compatible with Windows computers. I have a Mac so am unable to comment on the quality or the method of access.


Recap

The Feature: 2.5/5
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3/5

Running-themed comedy in need of a little more training time gets a decent video transfer, surprisingly good audio and an acceptable special features package.
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