Movie Review “Brittany Runs a Marathon”
I’ve never run a marathon, have no desire to run a marathon, and for all its qualities, Brittany Runs a Marathon did little to change my mind. However if you’ve got your metaphor shoes on, though Brittany wants to run the marathon, it’s really that she wants to be an active participant on that long-distance course we call life. Jillian Bell is well-cast as Brittany, an edgy, overweight underachiever who likes to party and can’t understand why her ill-advised jokes put off prospective employers (and current employers for that matter). A trip to the doctor convinces Brittany that she needs to exercise (and get healthier). With the aid of her fit upstairs neighbor (a good Michaela Watkins) and a new friend (Micah Stock), Brittany starts a new fitness regimen—she also lands a job dog-sitting and begins an unlikely friendship (don’t call it a relationship) with fellow dog-sitter Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar).
Brittany Runs a Marathon has its share of good moments and supporting performances (namely Watkins and Ambudkar) and proceeds to an expected conclusion in a slightly unexpected manner. It also tries to show how difficult it can be to exist in a society that simultaneously urges you to “be yourself” yet celebrates beauty of a certain kind. However, as well as Jillian Bell inhabits Brittany, she can be hard to root for (Brittany can be condescending, abrasive, nasty, insulting) and the movie’s structure gilds the lily when it comes to her eventual emotional rebirth.