Brittany Runs a Marathon

First Hit: Enjoyable at times, but I somehow think the story didn’t address the elephant in the room.

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is introduced to us as a woman who sleeps long hours, binge drinks, is overweight, and her life is slipping away from her. She resents a woman who lives above her in the building, calls her Martha when her name is Catherine (Michaela Watkins). The resentment comes because Brittany believes Catherine has money, is kind to her, is married, and runs every day.

Brittany has a social media hungry roommate named Gretchen (Alice Lee) who obviously uses her as a fat funny friend.

To show how low Brittany will go, she’s drinking in a bar, a guy tells her he’d like her to go with him to the restroom for some action, then pulls out paper cocktail napkins and says, “to protect your knees.” It is a humiliating scene and provides an emphasis on how her life is falling apart.

She goes to the doctor, who advises her that she needs to change her habits and life. One of the recommendations is to lose 45 – 55 pounds.

Up until this point, Brittany’s sarcastic, mean humor is tolerable by her friends and even her doctor, but later in the film, it changes.

Brittany goes to a gym, and when the gym representative tells her their least expensive program is $129.00 a month, she wisecracks herself out of joining the gym. Finally, she decides to try running like her neighbor Catherine does. To make extra money, Brittany decides to house and dog sit in wealthy homes.

When she goes into a home she’ll be sitting in, she discovers the night sitter, Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar) who thinks of himself as a functional art creator.

There are several scenes where we see Brittany struggling to make smart decisions about what she eats and not going out drinking because she’s making progress in her running resulting in the loss of some weight.

There are also scenes where Catherine and Brittany’s sister Shannon (Jennifer Dundas), Jern, and Gretchen are the brunt of some very vicious comments by Brittany. Even strangers, including one scene at Gretchen’s home, when Brittany drunk, slams an overweight guest.

This brings up the elephant in the room, often when Brittany gets vicious, she does it when she’s been drinking, and unfortunately, this film doesn’t address this. However, the film does discuss the importance of learning to like yourself, respecting your body, and a willingness to receive help, support and guidance from friends, people that are showing up to you.

The film does follow Brittany in her attempt to run a marathon, but for some reason, it came across a bit haphazard. It was inspirational to a point, but at times it seemed to miss essential aspects that could have raised this film to another level.

Bell is okay as Brittany, and I appreciated that she did lose and gain weight to deliver an authentic performance. Lee was instrumental as the social media affected roommate and friend. Watkins is lovely as the sober, and inspirational, neighbor and in the end, friend. Lil Rei Howery (as Demetrius) and Dundas as Brittany’s brother-in-law and sister were excellent. They showed a supportive understanding of Brittany’s behavior. Ambudkar was funny and enjoyable to watch as Brittany’s the co-house sitter. Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote this screenplay based on his former roommate, the real, Brittany O’Neill’s adventure to start running and run a New York City Marathon. Colaizzo also directed this film, and he knew what he wanted, but I’m not sure it was enough.

Overall: This film seemed to float between wanting to be a comedy, through sarcasm, and a drama with powerful messages to share.