Connect with us

Subscribe

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Film

Sundance 2019: ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ is Charming but Overhyped

Jillian Bell shines in ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon,’ a charming but slight film exploring self-love and body positivity.

It’s about time Jillian Bell led her own film. The comedian and actress has added her manic comic energy to Workaholics, as well as created and starred in the short-lived Idiotsitter on Comedy Central, but Brittany Runs a Marathon is the first showcase of the depth of her acting abilities. It turns out that she’s able to pull from a well of emotion in addition to her already-demonstrated comic skills. Unfortunately, Brittany Runs a Marathon doesn’t have much going for it beyond Bell’s performance. It’s pleasant and charming, but not much else.

Bell stars as Brittany, whose life is in a state of upheaval. She spends most of her nights partying, and can barely make it to her job as an usher at a theater. She shares an apartment with an Instagram influencer (Alice Lee) whose videos with her boyfriend are insufferable. When Brittany goes to a doctor to try to score an Adderall prescription, she instead gets a lecture about her weight; however, despite initially entering a depressive spiral, she gets a vote of confidence from her fitness-focused photographer neighbor (Michaela Watkins). After joining her running group, Brittany hatches up a pie-in-the-sky plan to train for the New York City Marathon. Meanwhile, with her living situation becoming untenable, she takes a job as a house sitter in order to squat in a mini-mansion, only to find that the nighttime sitter (Utkarsh Ambudkar) is already staying there.

Bell is often hilarious as Brittany, and the screenplay — written by director Paul Downs Colaizzo — gives her plenty of room to stretch; she’s able to reach dramatic depths in the movie’s darker portions that I didn’t think were possible based on her previous work. Watkins, who is great even in the smallest of roles, is characteristically excellent, and her scenes with Bell seem to free up the younger actor to take chances.

The film falters, however, when it focuses too explicitly on Brittany’s weight loss and body positivity. There are cynical moments when Brittany Runs a Marathon seems to try to appeal to fans of those Dove ads, rather than crafting a fully fleshed-out story. Unfortunately, it’s likely to work. My Sundance screening was filled with viewers who left saying it was the best thing they’d seen at the festival. There’s also a misjudged choice to have Brittany decide to just be friends with one of her earlier love interests. In theory, it’s an interesting idea and a nice reversal of the usual romantic comedy tropes, but as it’s done here, the choice seems more like a way to simplify a film running up against a contractually obligated end time. There are still plenty of joys to Brittany Runs a Marathon, but hopefully the film will unlock bigger and better projects for Bell.

Credits
Directed by: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Written by: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Starring: Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Alice Lee
Music by: Duncan Thum
Cinematography: Seamus Tierney
Edited by: Casey Brooks
Country: USA

Sundance Film Festival 2019

The Sundance Film Festival runs January 24 – February 3. Visit the official website for more information.

[penci_review id=”147204″]

Newsletter Signup

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

In case you missed it...

Ranking The Legend of Zelda Series

Games

‘Reservoir Dogs’ is Arguably Tarantino’s Best Film

Film

Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man 2

‘Spider-Man 2’ Remains A Peerless Spider-Man Film

Film

Grindhouse Deathproof Planet Terror Grindhouse Deathproof Planet Terror

‘Planet Terror’ vs. ‘Death Proof’

Film

Ripley Alien Ripley Alien

An ‘Alien’ Retrospective: How All Female Leads Trace Back to Ripley

Film

‘Alien’ May Be the Ultimate Haunted House Movie

Film

Best Spider-Man Comics Best Spider-Man Comics

10 Best Spider-Man Comics You Should Check Out

Comics

‘Spider-Man 3’ Falls Victim to Superhero Studio Growing Pains

Film

Best Spider-Man Comics Best Spider-Man Comics

10 Best Spider-Man Comics You Should Check Out

Comics

True Romance Review True Romance Review

‘True Romance’ – One of the Best-Written Genre Films Ever Made

Film

What Remains of Edith Finch What Remains of Edith Finch

Games that Changed Our Lives: Exploring the Grieving Process in ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’

Games

FromDuskTillDawn FromDuskTillDawn

‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – Horror and the Tarantinoverse

Film

Cruel Fate Makes for Good Gaming in ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’

Games

Fantasia 2019: The Spice is Nice in ‘Extreme Job’

Fantasia Film Festival

Kill Bill Kill Bill

‘Kill Bill’ and the Five Styles of Fighting in Tarantino’s Kung Fu Opus

Film

The Best and the Most Disappointing Changes to the ‘Lion King’ Soundtrack

Blog

Advertisement
Connect
Newsletter Signup

7 Shares
Share
Tweet
Reddit
Pin