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Brittany Runs a Marathon Review


Dan Skip Allen

     Brittany Runs a Marathon was a festival darling coming out of Sundance last January. Festival films can be hit and miss though. You could end up with a year like 2016 when you have three great festivals darlings such as La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. Or you could have last year where there really weren’t any to speak of early in the year. Brittany Runs a Marathon has the feel of a festival film but, does that translate to a great film?The answer is no!

     The title character Brittany is portrayed by Jillian Bell. She made her name in comedy troupes and in the sequel of 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street where she was the villain and she got into a fist-fight with Jonah Hill.  She is obviously a funny woman. The ceiling is endless for her. Brittany is a woman who is being disrespected by people and she has no respect for herself. She eats indiscriminately and drinks like a fish. She is just a laughing stock in her friend circles and her family doesn’t know what to make of her. After she hits rock bottom and finally goes to a doctor she learns what she needs to do to get better. She decides to start running and in the process finds some new friends who love and respect her. The problem is she still has to accomplish her goal of running a marathon. This is easier said than done. Working two jobs and balancing a relationship gets in the way of training and all of these things take a toll on her body. Brittany is a mess.

     The direction in this film is subpar and the script needed some fine tuning to make this a great film. Jillian Bell is a funny woman. Some of her adlibs worked and some of them did not. They were going for this heartfelt story about this hard up woman who needs a change, but the comedy didn’t mix with this kind of film. We’ve obviously seen this kind of formula work better with Jim Carrey, Will Farrell and Adam Sandler among others. Jillian Bell is far from those incredible talents. Lil Rel Howery added a little levity to the film as a father figure and brother in law. 

     This film failed to make me laugh. More importantly, it failed to make me care for Brittany as a character. That’s a major problem. The buzz behind this film got me excited for it and that was my fault. This film was based on a real woman and real events. Here’s hoping her life wasn’t as miserable as this film made it seem. Jillian Bell isn’t ready for leading roles like this just yet. She needs to choose her projects better because this film didn’t do her any favors. The comedy and dramatic moments didn’t work at all. This film was as big of a mess as Brittany was…

2 ½ stars

Dan Skip Allen