The film begins with Dennis (Simon Pegg) on the day of his wedding to his pregnant fiancee Libby (Thandie Newton). Overcome with fear (and, as we find out later in the film, an inability to finish anything he has started), he climbs out of the window and runs away. Five years later Dennis is still single. Luckily he is still on speaking terms with Libby, who is bringing up her son Jake as a single mother. Jake idolises his father, forgiving him for any mistakes he has made or continues to make.
Dennis is happy with this situation and wishes it would last forever. But not Libby. She's swept off her feet by Whit (Hank Azaria), a rich American businessman, and it looks like marriage is only a few months away. Dennis decides to fight to get Libby back. Whit is a dynamic person, in both his business and his personal life. Among other things, he takes part in the London Marathon every year. Dennis decides to prove he's just as good a man as Whit by running in the Marathon as well, even though (1) he's overweight, (2) he only has three weeks to train and (3) the deadline has expired for registering for the Marathon.
As a comedy I find the film only slightly funny, but it's very uplifting and encouraging. It's a story of how a person who is a failure in life can succeed against seemingly impossible odds. And it's a romantic film, a good choice to watch on Valentine's Day.
On another subject, even though I bought my first Blu-ray player in 2010 (May 12th 2010, a few months before I started this blog) I've been buying mostly DVDs rather than Blu-ray discs. When given a choice of buying a DVD or a Blu-ray I've chosen the cheaper of the two, which is usually (though not always) the DVD. I've rebought a few of my favourite films on Blu-ray, such as the Spider-Man trilogy, but to be honest it's been very few. After almost four years of owning a Blu-ray player I only have about 40 films on Blu-ray, compared with over 1600 films on DVD. Over the last few days I've watched a few films on Blu-ray, such as "Avengers Assemble", "13 Hrs" and "Run Fatboy Run". I've decided that the quality difference is enough to make it worth buying films on Blu-ray, even if they're slightly more expensive. After all, the price of Blu-rays today is less than I was paying for DVDs in 2002.
Of course, I'll stick to the general guidelines that I laid out in a detailed post on Blu-ray discs in September 2010:
- 2006 to present: Blu-ray is better quality
- 1996 to 2005: Blu-ray may be better, especially in big budget productions
- 1995 and earlier: Blu-ray is not better
This means that I'm willing to pay a pound or two more for Blu-ray releases of newer films, but I'll only by films older than 1995 on Blu-ray if they're cheaper than the DVD.
For those of you who watch most of your films on your computer with a streaming service like Netflix, let me put things into perspective. The quality of Netflix films is superior to DVD, but only if they are well mastered, and only if you are using a high quality monitor or television screen. DVD pictures have a vertical resolution of either 480 or 576 pixels, depending on whether they are encoded in NTSC format (used in America) or PAL format (used in Europe). Netflix's high definition films are broadcast with a vertical resolution of 720 pixels, which means a big improvement for American viewers (50%), but a lesser improvement for European viewers (25%). However, the majority of Netflix customers in both countries don't use a viewing device that is sufficient to give a noticeable improvement over DVD.
Blu-rays have a vertical pixel resolution of 1080 pixels. This is a noticeable improvement over both DVDs and Netflix. If you are a real film fan you won't be cheap and stick to Netflix, at least not for your favourite films. Blu-ray is the only choice for top quality pictures.