Film Review – Britanny Runs a Marathon

Directed: Paul Downs Colaizzo

Writer: Paul Downs Colaizzo

Starring: Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh 

Tagline: “You can’t rush progress.”

Trivia: The cast and crew actually got to film at the New York City Marathon, making this the first time a non-documentary film crew has been allowed to shoot there.

I HATE running to a point that I once said “I have a note from God that I’m not allowed to run… and I’m from Jerusalem, so that’s the real-deal”.

So, running movies are not my thing, I’m too scared that it would convince me that I should run.

Having said that, when I saw the title and synopsis of Brittany Runs a Marathon I was hoping to see something as refreshing, funny and inspirational as “Run, Fat Boy, Run”, but was slightly disappointed.

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is overweight and under-employed. At 28, Brittany’s life has stalled into a deadening cycle of partying, meaningless sex, shallow friendships and an off-off-Broadway theater gig that barely keeps her afloat.

It’s clear to her doctor but not to Brittany, that something has to be done. Even when he warns her, she tries to charm him to give her prescription drugs, he instead warns her about her BMI being in the obese range. “You totally missed the point of those Dove ads,” she wisecrack in a her usual way of avoidance.

For some reason this time the “penny fall” and Britanny takes up running because she can’t afford a gym membership and her immediate goal is to make it to the end of her block.

If you ever had to pull a pair of old shaggy tracksuit bottoms from the back of your wardrobe for a try-out run you would sympathize with Brittany’s first attempt at reaching the end of the block.

As she struggles to maintain her running she becomes friends with two other people, who are not her usual crowd, which allow her to move on and re-evaluate her relationships not just her health and body size.

Against all odds she sticks with the running and even take a bigger goal, which is running the New-York Marathon.

The movie is not really about running a Marathon it is about how society treats you differently when your dress size is in the double digits, how the scars of bad relationships past (if you’ve had relationships at all) can create insecurity and how endless self-loathing can sour into an attitude that hurts others.

Brittany’s journey is about healing and forgiveness not about finishing a Marathon.

Though the movie twists in ways that make it feel fairly honest and emotionally complex there are times when the plot is a bit fussy.

The main flaw of the movie is that while “fat” Britanny was funny, as she sheds off her weight the humor disappears from the movie and the second Act becomes boring and too long, not to say repetitive.

How many shots of going on the scale can we get?

Brittany Runs a Marathon is funny in places but the film doesn’t quite hold its nerve; it goes a bit conventional romcom at the end. Still, that doesn’t stop it being properly enjoyable. 

Verdict – 3/5 Stars in my book

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