On DVD: Run, Fat Boy, Run

Look, I don't think it is much of a secret around here that I'm a sucker for a good romantic comedy. And since most critics tend to be frustratingly harsh on the genre, I tend to end up taking point on them.

Granted, rom-coms are rarely inventive. In fact, that tends to be their greatest selling point. You don't sit down to watch a romantic comedy to see some groundbreaking new take on romance. You watch it so you have an excuse to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket with a pint of Haagen-Dazs and watch a good relationship go bad, just so you can watch them put it back together again. Or to see two people who hate each other realize they really love one another and belong together. Or to watch the nerd finally score the date with the homecoming queen. It's romantic wish fulfillment, nothing more. A good rom-com isn't so much about the ending as much as it's about how the movie gets there.

Such is the case with Run, Fat Boy, Run, the Simon Pegg/Thandie Newton rom-com directed by longtime Friends star David Schwimmer. I loved it, as you can read in my initial SXSW review here. Of course, not everyone agreed, as my fellow Film.com staff writer Cole Haddon illustrates in his review. So when Warner Brothers was nice enough to send me a copy, I took the opportunity to cuddle up with my wife for a second viewing. And it held up. I found myself still laughing and looking forward to the cheesy, predictable and yet utterly lovable ending.

The disc is up to snuff with the movie: there's nothing groundbreaking but it's solid all around. It offers both the wide-screen and full-screen formats on the same side, so you don't have to deal with the which-side-is-which issue. There's a fairly listenable commentary in which David Schwimmer, Thandie Newton, and a clearly tired Simon Pegg talk about all the little this-and-thats going on in the background of the film. There are some good laughs in there, but it's mostly about seeing the chemistry between these three who all seem to genuinely like one another.

The deleted scenes are probably the best part of the disc: there are a number of good jokes, running gags, and other small (but delightful) moments that broaden the film. If you've seen the film and wondered about the incredibly hot India de Beaufort's simmering sexuality, the occasional lingering looks between her and Dennis (Pegg), and the seemingly inexplicable photo she takes of him in the movie, the answers are all on the cutting room floor. And they're very funny. There are also a few scenes that leave no question in your mind as to why they were cut, as they make Dennis just a tad bit unlikable and almost stalker-ish.

Then there's a gag reel of outtakes, most of which are simply alternate takes of scenes or moments in which swear words were inserted in the place of their less-offensive alternates (which ultimately made it into the film instead). While I'm normally a fan of these, there was nothing truly inspired in there. And finally there's an outtake simply named "goof" in which Simon Pegg, being prepped for a series of interviews, finds himself as the subject of one of Thandie Newton's practical jokes. At first it's kind of lame, but as the joke becomes more obvious, Pegg becomes slightly embarrassed and begins regaling the audience with Thandie's many misadventures on the set. It's a cute special feature that presents Newton as even more endearing than before.

All in all, Run, Fat Boy, Run is an entertaining little DVD and is available now from Warner Home Video.