Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

You gotta love an athletic triumph story that admits that you may shit yourself in the process.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo

Actors: Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock, Alice Lee

Year: 2019

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a 27-year-old party girl in New York, who sleeps half the day, has one of those jobs (ticket taker at a theater) where is in unclear to the viewer how she pays the rent. She is also the self-demeaning overweight “funny friend” that her pals love to have around for an ego boost. But when Brittany goes for a health checkup, she finds that her weight is giving her issues like high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, prompting the doctor telling her that she needs to get healthy. Yeah, no one wants to hear that, but she laces up her Chucks (which will make any runner/walker cringe) and starts by running a block. One step at a time.

Yes, the title is the plot of the movie. Brittany, at the start a relatively hostile participant to the idea of running, meets a couple new running buddies to join the pain, the even more deprecating Seth (Micah Stock) and the divorcee Catherine (Michaela Watkins) who seems to have her life together (but doesn’t really). Brittany is fighting her own self-esteem demons in her journey to improve her life, but her self-absorption blocks her from seeing that everyone else is on their own journey.

As someone who has joined marathon walking groups as well as more recently a beginning 5K running group, there was so much about this film that was spot-on for this sport that at most minimal merely requires shoes as equipment to get started. I cackled several times as Brittany and her friends struggled in their training, slowly improving where it starts getting a little easier. I sympathized when Brittany was not happy with her progress. And I winced knowingly when it is shown that you can push yourself too hard, too fast.

Runners, non-athletes that decide to train for a new sport, or anyone who has struggled with weight or self-esteem will find something to relate to in this funny, hard-not-to-be-inspirational story. Brittany may not be the most sympathetic lead (she can certainly be abrasive and downright cruel, deflecting her own personal issues onto well-meaning others), but Jillian Bell is a sharp comedian that makes her journey fun to watch. Shoot, watching this, I kind of want to try running again. But, you know, baby steps.


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