Review: BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON Is Shallowly Inspiring

FIRST IMPRESSION

Though its intentions are undeniably positive, Brittany Runs a Marathon doesn't offer the substance or charm to make it work.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Brittany Runs a Marathon, written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, was a big hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but is unfortunately too saccharine to have a lasting impact. Good intentions only go so far, and this movie suffers from an uneven and by-the-book script.

This film follows a young woman who, under the advice of her doctor and tired of having the world body-shame her, sets out to train for the New York City marathon. What results is a frustratingly straightforward and only mildly inspiring underdog story that takes quite a bit of time to get moving and is only mostly diverting once it does.

The only thing that this movie has to offer is a positive message about perseverance and how anything is possible if one is fully dedicated to achieving a goal. However, beneath the seemingly inspiring messaging is something more sinister. For a film trying to pass itself off as “body positive”, it is a bit suspect that the protagonist measures her success in the amount of weight she loses. The dialogue emphasizes that a marathon is not about winning, but about finishing… yet the filmmaking seems to show that it is really about conforming to the “normal” body image.

The main factor that will make or break this movie for most audiences is whether or not they appreciate Jillian Bell’s schtick. Even though she proved this year in Sword of Trust that she has legitimate chops, she goes back to playing her usual character in this, albeit with one or two additional emotional scenes. By now, her goofiness is starting to get old, and it does not lend anything to Brittany Runs a Marathon, making the character more annoying than she would otherwise be.

Over the course of the film, Brittany does become a more likable character, and as a result, the movie becomes more bearable. However, for those first thirty minutes, in which she is whiny and annoying (akin to most of Bell’s other characters), it is almost unbearable. The film can’t be faulted for being unrealistic — everyone knows someone like that — but do audiences really want to watch a movie about the most annoying person they know?

brittany runs a marathon bell
Jillian Bell as Brittany. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

The humor of the film is also sadly unfunny. There is some legitimate wit to be found in the dialogue, but that is buried beneath all the layers of visual gags and jokes that just don’t land. Audiences are supposed to laugh at Brittany struggling to run? Even though the intention is (hopefully) to laugh with her, it more often than not feels like laughing at her instead.

It really is a shame that the movie isn’t stronger as a whole, because the supporting cast that was assembled for the film is quite talented. Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock, and Michaela Watkins all give solid supporting performances, though none of them are given much with which they can work. Of the three, Stock’s performance is the most memorable and enjoyable to watch, but audiences will be left wanting to see more of Howery and Watkins.

The movie also has quite a bit of ambition on a technical level. The editing, particularly towards the end of the film, is energetic if a bit gimmicky, allowing the movie to move along despite pacing issues and a conventional plot. That said, the overly pop-filled soundtrack doesn’t help the film, as it makes the “motivational” nature of the movie feel even more forced. Granted, this does brighten up the film a bit, but the story is already sentimental enough that this is unnecessary.

The first thirty minutes of Brittany Runs a Marathon are unpleasant, and the following hour is watchable. Ultimately, although the effort and passion of all involved is obvious, and it will have its fair share of fans, this film leaves much to be desired and feels like a waste of potential.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is now playing in select theaters.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Under the Riccione sun | Official teaser | Netflix

How many things can happen during an Italian Summer? So many, actually. Mara, Tommy, Guenda, Marco, Emma, Ciro, Furio, Camilla, Bea, Gualtiero will be totally changed by the end of the summer. Maybe not all of them... but just wait and see for yourselves. Under the Riccione sun will be available on Netflix from July…

In The Dark | Cast Chat – Keston John | The CW

Stream new episodes of In The Dark Fridays free only on The CW: https://go.cwtv.com/genITDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About IN THE DARK: A flawed and irreverent blind woman is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while…

Rhett Butler Walks Out On Scarlett O’Hara | Gone With The Wind | HBO Max

After years of seeking Scarlett's love, Rhett has finally given up on their tumultuous relationship and delivers one of the most iconic lines in cinema. Stream Gone With The Wind on HBO Max. Subscribe: http://bit.ly/HBOMaxYouTube Be the first to know more: HBO Max: https://bit.ly/HBOMaxYT Like HBO Max on Facebook: http://bit.ly/HBOMaxFacebook Follow HBO Max on Twitter:…

Axios on HBO: Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Promo) | HBO

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer confirms to Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond that she feels she has to censor herself to continue receiving federal assistance. Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Known for delivering news, coverage, and insight with a distinctive brand of smart brevity, Axios on HBO helps viewers better understand the big trends reshaping…

Roswell, New Mexico | Season 2 Episode 11 | Linger Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Roswell, New Mexico Tuesdays free only on The CW: https://go.cwtv.com/genROSyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO: After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he's an alien who has…

Daryl and Carol Fall off a Bridge | The Walking Dead Classic Scene

On the hunt for supplies, Daryl and Carol are trapped by walkers with only one way to escape. Watch from The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFW4F9BGYQg&list=PLC7EC9FB2E211A261&index=6&t= Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx #TWD #TheWalkingDead #ClassicScene THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC/ Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC Visit The Walking…

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: State of the Unions (Full Segment) | HBO

All-new on #RealSports, Bryant Gumbel is joined by the three most powerful union chiefs in all of sports: DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA, Michele Roberts of the NBPA and Tony Clark of the MLBPA. #HBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Real Sports is television’s most-honored sports journalism program, and received last May its 19th…

Jo Koy: In His Elements | Official Trailer | Comedy Special | Netflix

For the first time ever, comedian Jo Koy takes Netflix to the Philippines in his new special, Jo Koy: In His Elements, launching June 12. Koy celebrates his heritage by telling jokes about life as a Filipino-American while highlighting the culture of Manila. He also uses this opportunity to shine a light on other Filipino-American…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here