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Run Fatboy Run (PG-13) ***

By Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee

Casting Simon Pegg to star in a light romantic comedy makes about as much sense as casting him to play a zombie fighter or a supercop. Pegg looks like a guy who has spent too many hours at the local pub.

But Pegg showed with Shaun of the Dead he can kick the degrading butts of zombies with ease. He was just as believable as a die-hard cop in the dark comedy Hot Fuzz.

He proves with Run Fatboy Run he can also handle being a leading man.

Run Fatboy Run examines what lengths an average guy will go to win back a lost love. Under the light touch of director David Schwimmer, the trek he takes is as funny as it is poignant.

Pegg plays Dennis, a groom who leaves his pregnant fiancée Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar. The pair stays in touch because of their son Jake (Matthew Fenton). This relationship gets strained when Libby gets involved with Whit (Hank Azaria), a guy who is too good to be true.

Dennis knows he must make a grand gesture to win Libby back. He decides he’ll run the London Marathon.

There are just a few problems. Dennis gets winded running his mouth. He may have run 26 miles if you tally up all the running he has done in his life. And the biggest problem: He has three weeks to prepare.

Run Fatboy Run is a gentle film. There are a couple of broad characters, especially scene stealer Dylan Moran, but the movie works because all of the players seem like real people.

It would have been easier to cast an actor like Hugh Grant in the lead role — the kind of guy who has a great chance of winning the attention of any woman he wants. The decision to go with Pegg, who looks like the average guy, makes the movie more accessible. More people in this world are Peggs than Grants.