Australian Council on Children and the Media

Run, Fat Boy, Run

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Not recommended under 13, parental guidance to 15 due to sexual references, coarse language and smoking.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Run, Fat Boy, Run
  • a review of Run, Fat Boy, Run completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 March 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to sexual references, coarse language and smoking.
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references, coarse language and smoking.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Run, Fat Boy, Run
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language
Length 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dennis (Simon Pegg) suffers pre-wedding jitters and leaves his heavily pregnant fiancee Libby (Thandie Newton) standing at the altar. Five years later Dennis is working as a security guard in a lingerie shop and sharing the parenting of his son Jake (Mathew Fenton), but remains estranged from Libby, whom he stills loves.

When Libby’s new boyfriend Whit (Hank Azaria), a rich American “Mr. Perfect” enters the picture, Dennis becomes a little desperate fearing that his hopes of reconciling with Libby are slipping away. To try to win back Libby and to prove that he’s capable of changing, Dennis enters a charity marathon and runs against Whit, whose passion in life is running marathons. Dennis is coached by his best friend Gordon (Dylan Moran), who has ulterior financial motives for assisting Dennis and Dennis’s landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel).

The big race does not go smoothly for Dennis, but his life is changed forever.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Relationship breakdown

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Run, Fat Boy, Run contains occasional slapstick type violence and accidental harm. Examples include:

  • While lying on the bedroom floor suffering a pre-wedding panic attack, Dennis repeatedly bangs his head against the floor.
  • Dennis is slapped across the back of the head by a shoplifter he catches.
  • On several occasions, and in an effort to motivate Dennis, Mr. Ghoshdashtidar hits Dennis on the bottom with a metal spatula.
  • Gordon uses a large nail to burst a very large blister on the bottom of Dennis’s foot. Gordon forcefully stabs the blister rather than pricking it resulting in Gordon’s face being covered in copious amounts of pus.
  • A runaway wheelchair accidentally runs down a man, injuring his leg severely enough to force him out of the race. .
  • Dennis and Gordon fight each other. The fight begins with Dennis and Gordon wrestling each other and then slapping each other in the face. The fight then escalates to a more brutal, but still comical fight involving punches in the face, bashing each other in the face with rubbish bin lids, body slams, and kicks and punches to the groin.  
  • During the marathon race, Whit deliberately trips Dennis, causing both runners to fall hard to the ground. Dennis ends up lying on the ground in severe pain with a badly twisted ankle, while Whit has several scrapes and scratches to his knee.
  • Part way through the marathon, Dennis “hits the wall” and imagines himself running at a solid brick wall and smashing into it. On two such attempts Dennis is knocked back but on the third he manages to break through.
  • While in hospital, Whit becomes angry with Jake when Jake continues to play around with the electric bed Whit is lying in. Whit snaps at Jake and calls him a “little shit”.  
  • Gordon is threatened with having his fingers broken when his fingers are forced beneath a piano lid, but before any damage is done Gordon is saved.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • Jake runs away when he finds out that his mother is marrying Wit. Dennis becomes very upset, running around with tears running down his face. Eventually Dennis finds Jake sitting in his favourite tree in the park.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age category may also be disturbed by the above noted scene.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children over eight are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over thirteen are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Nike
  • Johnny Walker whisky

 

Sexual references

There are sexual references in this movie, including:

  • In a shower scene Whit is naked with his groin inches away from Dennis’s face. Whit says “You can see my point can’t you?” which Dennis appeared to find a little intimidating.
  • In the film Libby runs a bakery shop called “Libby’s Nice Buns”
  • While scratching his groin in an attempt to gain relief from a rash, Dennis is told by his female employer to “keep your hands out of your scrotal zone.”
  • In reference to Dennis getting Libby pregnant before marring her, Mr Ghoshdashtidar states, “The toothpaste was already out of the tube.”
  • When Dennis asked Mr. Ghoshdashtidar what he remembered about his deceased wife Mr. Ghoshdashtidar said, “Most of all I remember all the fucking.”
  • In one scene, Gordon hands Dennis a tube of KY lubricant telling Dennis that it is for his nipples (prevents rashes when running), Dennis replied “I’m not really in the mood.”
  • Dennis is running for a charity and wears the name of the charity on his T-shirt “Erectile Dysfunction Disorder”. The sponsored charity’s name is mentioned a couple of times including once on TV.
  • After pricking a very large blister on the bottom of Dennis’s foot and having his face squirted with puss, Gordon states, “That was the second most disgusting fluid I’ve had in my eye.”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A number of scenes contain images of women wearing low cut dresses that expose cleavage and midriff.
  • A naked man is seen having his chest massaged, a towel draped across his groin area.  
  • A man and woman kiss passionately during a nightclub scene.
  • A scene in a shower/change room depicts images of Whit naked but with a towel around his groin and buttocks. During the scene, Whit rubs powder over his chest and groin with his groin at only inches away from Dennis’s face.
  • In one scene, Dennis walks out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist to find Mr. Ghoshdashtidar daughter Maya lying in a seductive manner on his bed, wearing brief shorts and a low cut top. Maya rips the towel away from Dennis’s waist and takes a picture of his naked body; Dennis’s nakedness is inferred not shown.     
  • In one scene Dennis, who is suffering from a groin rash from running, rubs his groin for relief, the act resembling masturbation, while unknowingly being watched by schoolgirls. Shortly after, Dennis repeats the same act, but this time in front of shop customers. Later still, Dennis rubs him self up against a store mannequin using the mannequin’s hand to scratch his groin, again while being watched by store customers.
  • On two occasions Gordon’s bare buttocks are clearly seen for a brief moment. 
  • In one scene, two women wearing brief swimwear approach Gordon who invites them onto his boat. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Scenes at a wedding and a party show people holding glasses of champagne and bottles of champagne displayed.
  • A group of poker players pour whisky into glasses from a bar containing a range of spirits.
  • Dennis and Whit drink scotch from glasses.
  • After a party, Dennis staggers across a park while holding a glass of beer, and then staggers all the way home. 
  • Several people are seen smoking cigarettes including Dennis, who smokes almost continuously throughout the film.

Coarse language

Run, Fat Boy, Run contains frequent coarse language throughout and some putdowns. Examples include:

  • shit, shit-head
  • “You can stick it up your arse you American prick”
  • bastard
  • shit-head
  • You cock
  • fuck, fucking
  • arsehole

In a nutshell

Run, Fat Boy, Run is an entertaining romantic comedy that sees the film’s hero running last in the race while still getting the girl, which makes him the real winner. The main messages from this movie are:

  • the importance of discipline and commitment
  • you can’t just run away from problems - they will still be there and you must face them
  • nobody is perfect – everyone makes mistakes.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Dennis’ behaviour as a role model for his son
  • the real life dangers associated with gambling, rather than the more comic image the film presents.
  • the dangers associated with smoking

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